The Greeks knew what they were doing—democracy is a magnificent concept. But in the United States, we don’t really have a democracy, and we never will unless we keep “pure” capitalism in check. Yep, that includes some strategic measures of (gasp) socialism.

The richer class, often driven by the desire to sweep up our resources for themselves, can all too easily control the rest of us. They sway our votes with a few well-placed television ads, à la food giant Monsanto convincing Californians to vote against transparent food labels.

Research shows that the wealthiest stratum houses more than its share of cheaters and evil-mongers — so its no wonder they trick people into voting against their own interests with carefully researched, exorbitantly funded marketing strategies. And the money they pour into campaign contributions ensures that even elected officials will serve corporate needs (Bernie Sanders, of course, is an anomaly among politicians).

We need a true democracy to create a fair, flourishing society. A true democracy has no room for elections weighted toward corporate interests. Nor can it tolerate lobbyists who bribe politicians, or unbalanced elections in which only candidates who raise millions or billions of dollars have a chance of success. A true democracy runs not on greed or accumulation of resources. Instead, it serves to allow us all to become educated, live comfortable and healthy lives and focus on the things that bring us meaning in life, be they family, social service, career or artistic endeavors.

So what can we do to gain our fair say? Stay focused on progress, which we are slowly making. We’re better than in days past — at least we aren’t slaves to Caligula or King Henry VIII — but we all need to stay conscious of what’s actually happening, not just what we see in mainstream media or learn from Facebook memes.

Reform happens slowly, but it does happen. And we are not as powerless as we think, for we really do, as a group, control the government. That right is part of what made our country great, so let’s not squander it. Keep voting. Keep signing petitions. And be discriminating when it comes to sharing your money and your voice. The big corporations may tempt you with budget scares and flashy advertising, but that doesn’t mean you need to fall for it. Instead of blindly trusting Fox News, MSNBC or their biased equivalents, research candidates and ballot measures using objective sources like NPR, which usually tells it like it is.

The world is for all of us, not just the privileged. And only socialism can grant us equal rights.