This month Washington is consumed by the impasse over reopening the government and raising the debt limit. It seems likely that this episode, like the 1995-96 government shutdowns and the 2011 debt limit scare, will be remembered mainly by the people directly involved. But there is a chance future historians will see today‚Äôs crisis as the turning point where American democracy was shown to be dysfunctional — an example to be avoided rather than emulated.