Strange as it may seem to an era governed by mass-market politics, democracy begins in human conversation. The simplest, least threatening investment any citizen may make in democratic renewal is to begin talking with other people about these questions, as though the answers matter to them. Harmless talk around a kitchen table or in a church basement will not affect anyone but themselves, unless they decide that it ought to. When the circle is enlarged to include others, they will be embarking on the fer tile terrain of politics that now seem so barren.

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