In this collection of over fifty thought-provoking essays reprinted from Governing magazine, Alan Ehrenhalt examines the complications of government and politics in states and localities across America. Touching on topics both current and diverse, Ehrenhalt shows that we not only have the government we deserve, but that that government is us: a mirror of ourselves, with all the requisite strengths and weaknesses.Grouped into sections and woven together with an overall Introduction and short section introductions, the essays touch on topics such as leadership and legitimate authority in politics, the movement to devolve government power down to the state and local level, and the obsession with rooting out corruption. In one section, the author dissects the fallacies of the "reinventing government" movement and explains why it has not produced the results once promised. In another, he writes about the painful efforts to define and recreate "community" in localities all over America, after the fragmentation of social and political lives over the past generation.An insightful observer and writer on state and local matters, Alan Ehrenhalt is Executive Editor of Governing, a monthly magazine on state and local government and politics. The author of The United States of Ambition and The Lost City, he has worked for the Associated Press, the Washington Star, and Congressional Quarterly.