In the United States, democracy is less about the form of government and more about an aspiration. The idea of true equality of all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation was simply not comprehensible to the U.S. founders or their contemporaries. Interestingly, I think James Madison recognized the imperfections of the United States when he wrote these words in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

To me a “more perfect union” is not a declaration of an end state but rather a recognition that we can continue to become better. In other words, Madison expected the United States in 2022 to be more perfect than the United States in 1780 because the Constitution provides the framework for that improvement. It does this by providing for amendments that improve upon the original work.