There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: "A republic, if you can keep it."
In Franklin's mind, a republic was a democracy, people making their wishes for public space known and implemented through their elected officials. In Franklin's day the alternative to democracy was the king controlling public life rather than its citizens.
In our day, we need to elect political leaders who will ensure that citizens have control over their public space and prevent the public space from moving under the control of private ownership of roads, airports, parking meters, the rules of one religious group, charter schools and even private health insurance and care.