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A healthy democracy requires civic morality. Absent a set of virtues, principles and norms, our constitutional order falls apart like an IKEA bed that's missing screws. We must develop and adhere to a new civic code. This code should minimally instill within every American 10 commitments:

First, participate. Being a good citizen goes above and beyond voting. We can and should aspire to participate in a broader sense — taking advantage of opportunities to shape democratic action at the local, state and federal levels.

Second, learn. The more you learn about your community and your neighbors, the more impactful your participation will be.

Third, give. The greater your stake in the community, the more inclined you'll be to participate and learn. If you have time, volunteer. If you have money, donate. If you have both, do both. If you have neither, you can still give your undivided attention — trading time scrolling Instagram for time seeking out local news.

Fourth, join. The U.S. has long enjoyed a reputation as a nation of joiners. Increasingly, it seems we'd be better characterized as a nation of loners. That's a problem. As mentioned above, the more ties you have to your community, the easier it will be to satisfy the prior commitments. So find a group, a club or other gathering that's made up of folks in your local community.

Fifth, trust. Our public, private and nonprofit institutions are losing their ability to effectively solve problems due to a lack of trust among the public writ large. In some cases, such skepticism is merited. That said, a democracy defined by distrust has an expiration date. A commitment to trust means avoiding speculative and specious thinking.

Sixth, wait. The Constitution outlines intentionally inefficient processes. Deliberation takes time. Of course, such patience isn't justified if people or parties are intentionally delaying democratic processes.

Seventh, respect. Respect the democratic process and its participants will go a long way toward a healthier civic sphere. Notably, this attitude will become much easier as these commitments become more widespread.

Eighth, advocate. You do not need to be the next Rachel Carson, Ralph Nader or AOC to satisfy this requirement, but you do need to step up when you have two cents to offer on a relevant issue. Those two cents, when combined with the contributions of others and integrated into the proper democratic process, will be worth a nickel (even with inflation).

Ninth, represent. You may know folks or causes that do not have the time, resources or attention to engage as fully in the democratic process as they'd like. You can and should try to represent their interests. This will lead to a more robust and representative discourse.

Tenth, celebrate. It's really, really easy to knock our democracy for all of its faults. We've got to get into the practice of celebrating when it works. You can at once think there's a lot of room for improvement and acknowledge that the system occasionally does work as intended.

The framers anticipated and encouraged the population to share some basic values — though they ended the practice of state-supported religions, they very much encouraged the people to adopt and adhere to a faith. Their idea was good congregants would also be good community members. In brief, if you respect your god, then you'll respect the government; and, if you have ties to your faith community, then you'll have a stake in your civic community.

Nowadays, we need not all rush to the nearest mosque, synagogue or church to be good citizens — we've come to accept that people may source their morals from a diverse set of options. Nevertheless, we do need to admit that a democracy without civic virtue is destined to come apart at the seams. Adherence to the 10 civic commitments identified above will serve as glue — binding us to one another as well as to our democratic processes.

Kevin Frazier is an assistant professor at the Crump College of Law at St. Thomas University in Florida. Starting this summer, he will serve as a Tarbell fellow. The Fulcrum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news platform covering efforts to fix governing systems. It is a project of, but editorially independent from, Issue One.