It's taken almost two-and-a-half centuries, but it's clear that our form of democracy doesn't work. It did. But now it doesn't.
There are certain ironies: clearly, the writers of the Constitution didn't trust people all that much. They eschewed direct governance, and they established an elaborate system of checks and balances; they saw to it that rash decisions would be hard to make, that changes to the Constitution would be difficult, but possible. And yet, fundamentally, they made some optimistic judgements that have proved to be preposterously unrealistic. They counted, it seems, on a basic level of intelligence and education among the electorate and on the idea that those elected to govern would share at least a modicum of deference to the common weal. I can only assume that, back then, there was reason to believe it.