I've had some luck engaging in democratic practice in the years since, from working on congressional and city council campaigns to actually doing citizen organizing (this was the most satisfying method of putting my money where my mouth was I could ever desire, and yet I could see it was full of potential for, say, causing me to disintegrate into a heap of bitter anger if the cause I had fought for was not successful). Yeah, sure, dealing with issues like limiting parking on your street or trying to get a new park built seems so darn small but at least with these kinds of issues you can not only see a direct impact on your life but you can try to attack it meaningfully.
Unfortunately, it seems like once you get beyond local politics you're almost completely incapable of having any influence at all on anything that happens unless you're filthy rich. Which leads me with one question: how do I know which Democratic candidate is actually capable of taking the presidency away from Bush? Are the Republicans actually running scared from Dean, or is he truthfully not viable? If it's not him, will it be Clark? How can we figure out who the right one is before it's too late and Bush has secured another four years of crony capitalism headed from his throne?