What Debate? What Democracy? Expanding the Terms of Public Discourse

Curated by

Introduction

Elections and the candidate debates that precede them are lauded as a time-honored tradition of American democracy, allowing for the free and open exchange of ideas and the ability of the public to have a voice in our governance. Yet many public voices have repeatedly questioned the efficacy of voting as a true expression of freedom and democracy, and the legitimacy of official debates to represent the full range of viewpoints beyond the established political party platforms. This exhibit provides an introductory glimpse at some of the marginalized and dissident voices that have spoken up over the years—those who have taken a critical stance on the state of democractic governance and questioned the ability of the general public to truly impact the functions of the state.