Few believe that torture, perpetual wars and debt, domestic spying, and impunity for their perpetrators represent America. Congress rolls over for them, and actively prevents the majority from even participating - such as keeping single-payer health care advocates from the current debate.
Few know that ballot initiatives and referendums are the origin of most reform, such as women's suffrage (passed in 13 states before Congress went along), "Sunshine" laws, publicly financed elections (passed by initiative in 6 of 7 states having them), medical marijuana (in 9 of 13 states) and increasing minimum wages (in all 6 states that tried in 2006). See http://Vote.org/initiatives for more examples and references. The media have played up the problem initiatives.
The Swiss have kept their Parliament representative and humble with NATIONAL ballot initiatives since 1848. One result of them voting 3-7 times a year is the highest news readership in the world. Empowerment brings responsible behavior. The Swiss call their system "co-determination" -it works for all relationships! The best project for better and national ballot initiatives is at http://Vote.org