A matter-of-fact look at how our government was established and now functions, and how it can be abused. "We dream of a society free of poverty, racism, sexism, and exploitation in any form. Those who hold to that dream want to use the art of politics to see justice unfold." So speaks a cleareyed idealist who--in chapters devoted to the Founding Fathers (moneyed men and landed gentry, few of them interested in the common people), modern campaigns, elections, presidents and congressmen, lobbyists and bureaucrats--never lets the reader forget who loses when campaigns are run by admen and computers or when politicians become corrupt. Meltzer ends as he began--with a plea for action, giving examples of people who are making a difference. This is a short book about a large topic, successfully introducing and summarizing structure and issues that are rarely presented both so thoughtfully and so passionately at one time. Meltzer has a specific viewpoint--more liberal than conservative, more for the worker than for the owner. A bibliography is included; because of the book's general nature, there is no index. To be illustrated by David Small.