Democracy expert holds hope for civic improvement

On Sunday, America celebrates Constitution Day. Larry Diamond hopes enough Americans will take time to read that document before the risks to the democracy it underpins become overwhelming.

“Our sense of tolerance, civility, due process and the rules of the Constitution — all this has atrophied,” Diamond said last week as part of the University of Montana Mansfield Center’s 40th anniversary celebration lecture series. During a call-in radio interview, he recalled how one caller complained that Americans don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance enough.

Stanford University global democracy expert Larry Diamond visited the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana for its 40th anniversary celebration and lecture series.

Rob Chaney

“I reminded him that the last line of the pledge is ‘with liberty and justice for all,’” the senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law said. “Too many people think that’s only for themselves — not for the other side.”

That animosity shows up in many forms, from divisions on public opinion polls to partisan messaging and in the voting patterns of Congress and state legislatures.

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