Democracy is a work in progress, it is an artifact, a product of mankind. It can be overwhelming and discouraging to the point that many citizens just tune out and do not participate. A healthy democracy is a public good that depends on the capacity and willingness of the citizens to do the work of democracy. We need the collective capacity to select leaders who best represent us. We need to have a conversation of demoncracy where everyone has equal say and is given equal respect.
During an election cycle, there are some states that hold caucuses. Before a vote is held, neighbors get to gether and discuss various candidates and the issues. In that way neighbors learn what is important to one another.
Similarly, in large cities there are wards which are broken down into precincts. In each precinct there is a precinct worker. In the more corrupt practice of precinct worker, information only really flows one way: vote for the candidate the political machnie wants you to vote for.
Imagine instead a precinct captain who genuinely was interested in all the neighbors. Perhaps there's some extra friendly neighbor who might walk around and take notes about people's concerns and issues. Maybe that same person would place that information into a database for future reference.
Imagine a citizen who wants to change things. He doesn't know where to start. He speaks to his neighbor, the unofficial precinct captain. Based upon that conversation, the citizen decides to run for local office. The precinct captain, being a friendly sort decides that this citizen would make a great candidate, and so he talks him up to the neighbors. The neighbors, who are usually apathetic about politics suddenly brighten up. The concerned citizen suddenly finds himself surrounded by volunteers who maybe don't know him very well but they are pretty sure they like him.