The question is whether the government belongs to all of us or only to those with the money to buy it.
A tiny wealthy minority can broadcast attack ads to get their candidates elected, hire lobbyists to write legislation, and deploy flacks to make the people believe they really want what the plutocrats want them to want. They have the power and will to own the country if we let them.
Fortunately, we don't have to let them. We have the votes; we outnumber the plutocrats. We have the intelligence to see through their shams, if we want to use it. We have the honesty and courage to overcome cynicism and indifference toward the political process, if we recognize it as the way to solve our common, public problems.
What's the alternative? There is none. There is always a political process, democratic or otherwise: either we take the responsibility, or others do to us as they like.
Some would say that in a democracy the citizens get what they deserve. So what will characterize the political process this year? How will we as an electorate behave? Will we inform ourselves, debate rationally, respect those who disagree with us, and seek the public interest as well as our own good? Will we accept the responsibility of democracy? Or will we just guzzle our swill?
Will it be civic participation or the sale of our birthright to the highest bidders?