James Poulos criticizes David Broder:

In his national greatness enthusiasm, Broder obscures a fundamental point: political participation especially voting in one-off national elections is not a reliable index of civic health or even vibrant citizenship. Broder thinks that enthusiasm about America expressed by enthusiastically doing something America-themed is patriotism. This is a seriously imbalanced view. Dormant citizens who rise from the grave of civic republicanism to cast a fevered ballot once every two or four years do not a healthy electorate make. Volunteering for a campaign is better, but ‘joining enthusiastically’ can mean, a bit lower down on the totem pole, sloganeering, attending rallies, and plastering bumper stickers, all without any reflection deeper than “My candidate cares about me“ or “My candidate’s a true patriot.” And community volunteering is great, but has no necessary connection to any knowledge of, or appreciation for, the American national identity. (Indeed this may be a good thing.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.