To get out of the mess we're in, ordinary citizens will have to have as much character, vision, and courage as we wish our representatives had. It's every citizen's responsibility to do the hard work of developing his or her own character, vision, and courage. There is no honor in expecting the people we put in office to have more integrity than we do.
There are no easy answers, but there are simple ones If you really want a government of, by and for the People, you will need to have enough integrity and strength of character to actually stand for and vote for what you say you believe in. If we don't want our representatives to compromise their integrity when they get in office, then we shouldn't compromise ours when we go about putting them there. And the truth is, if you compromise your integrity in your daily life, no doubt your political inclinations will lack integrity as well.
If you really want to make a difference, you might try doing the hard personal work of realigning your attitudes and behavior in such a way that they are fully consistent with your stated values.
It's no wonder that so much political activity and effort makes so little difference to the folks who hold the reigns of power. They are so smug, having absolute faith in our perpetual timidity. The power they hold would belong to us if we had the courage to take it back. All you need to do is believe in the power of the truth and then live it.
If you would only believe in yourself
How to protect the Constitution
My Basic Strategy
Win by Losing
An Interview with Jesus