Langston Hughes’ classic poem, “Let America Be America Again,” https://poets.org/poem/let-america-be-america-again, acknowledges the American dream as a nation where “Equality is in the air we breathe.” Hughes avers that this dream has never included him and concludes with this avowal:
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be! . . .
We, the people, must redeem
all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
Hughes’ invocation of “We the People” is the hallmark phrase of a democracy. There is no democracy unless people and American mean all citizens, unless all have access to vote, free of the legal restrictions as well as voter suppression that has long characterized American history. Hughes’ challenge to redeem America includes making it true that any qualified citizen can become president.