Joseph Reisert, Harriet S. Wiswell and George C. Wiswell Jr. Associate Professor of American Constitutional Law, published a column March 6 in which he stresses that Americans should look beyond Washington to see our democracy at its best.

“Nobody is happy about what’s going on in Washington,” he said. “Look away from Washington, however, and you will find a lot to make you optimistic about, and even proud of, our national experiment in democratic self-government. To see the spirit of democracy in action, all you have to do is look around at your neighbors and other people wherever you find them gathered together in a crowd at a public event.”

Reisert comments in particular on things Americans often take for granted, such as volunteers and even standing in line, which is impressive, Reisert states, when you consider that “standing in line is not a universal phenomenon. Travel abroad, and you’ll find yourself in countries where there are no lines, only disorderly scrums where the rule is that the one with the sharpest elbows is the first person served.”