I went to the dentist the other day to get my teeth cleaned. Between scraping and rinsing, we talked about the current state of affairs in the country. He knows that I write and teach about these issues and asked me what I thought.

I told him that I am concerned there is a threat to constitutional democracy in the United States, and that this is not a partisan issue but a question involving the rule of law and limits on power. My dentist responded that he is about ready to give up — as far as he’s concerned, all politicians are shady and there’s simply no use in trying or hoping for anything better than what we are seeing.

I believe that is a serious mistake — and exactly what corrupt politicians count on. Elected officials excuse their own failings by falsely suggesting that all politicians are corrupt.

We can give in to cynicism, throw our hands up in the air and give up. Or we can demand more.

In fact, we have a choice. We can give in to cynicism, throw our hands up in the air and give up. Or we can demand more.

It’s perfectly understandable why some American voters are ready to throw in the towel. President Donald Trump’s White House constantly finds new lows — consider revelations from Bob Woodward’s new book, which reportedly describes Chief of Staff John Kelly calling the president an “unhinged…idiot” who has “gone off the rails” into “crazytown”. On Wednesday, the New York Times published an opinion article from what it says is a senior Trump administration official who claims to be…