The Democracy Test: 'Truth and Trust'

A US Senator holds a pocket US Constitution
A U.S. Senator holds a pocket U.S. Constitution in Washington, DC, June 20, 2017.
Saul Loeb| AFP | Getty Images

What happens in a democracy when we can't believe in anything? When we don't even believe in our nation's ability to govern itself? Faith in democracy decays and participation erodes.

What will be the lasting impact of our current break in truth and trust?

Trust in American government has steadily declined since the 1960s. What's next, given our current political climate of "alternative facts" and "fake news"?

How can a government and a society function without a shared sense of reality and truth?

And, as each side retreats to their respective media echo chambers, how can we work to restore faith in the purpose and practice of our democratic government?

Co-hosts Heather Cox Richardson and Neal Conan explore the moral and ethical basis of our faith in democracy.


Sophia Rosenfeld, author of the December, 2018 book "Democracy and Truth: A Short History" and a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Melvin Rogers is a professor of political science at Brown University. He's the author of "The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought."

Neal Conan is a longtime former host at National Public Radio.

Heather Cox Richardson is a history professor at Boston College.

"The Democracy Test" is a six-part series distributed by APM, American Public Media.

To listen to the program, click the audio player above.

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