Civics was one of the few classes I actually enjoyed in high school because everything about it tied directly into events in the news. Later, I even taught the subject to a high school class.
Much of the modern emphasis on “democracy” came after the Civil War as a way of severing people from the limitations of government that were built into the republic of the Constitution. Before that war, the emphasis had been on state and county or township government. The emphasis on the nation was an aggregate of jurisdictions and the plural verb was used – “these united States are….” Rather than “is.”
Early in the Obama administration a question was asked at a press conference as to whether the government had the authority to pursue a proposed program. The response was that they did have such authority because “it is the nature of government to do so.” Using that standard and the example of many totalitarian regimes, any conceivable agenda can be justified.
My father wrote a great deal on the evils of statism. He saw it as a logical outcome of man’s desire to “be as gods” (Gen. 3:5). Humanism tends, he said, to either anarchy (every man his own god) or statism of some kind (with the state as the highest collective voice of the people ruling in their name). Because anarchy is untenable in a social order, humanism always drifts quickly into statism. This explains why the emphasis on the individual and his democratic rights, “protected” by a national government has only caused a rapid increase in statist power.
No resolution to statism will ever come from a change in political administration because the problem is too much power. Our political system cannot now be described as it has been in civics textbooks for generations. It has degenerated into a civil war for control of the reins of powers. That will not change without a dramatic transformation in our culture.
Your eschatology will determine whether you are pessimistic about the future or not. It is never easy to be a part of such a struggle, but if we believe in the advance of the Kingdom of God, until the enemies of His Christ are made His footstools, we can endure by faith even when our own lives are in turmoil.