US Capitol building in Washington
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Katty Kay: US political process 'not working'

The United States is a country founded on the ideal of freedom and equality, values later underlined by key historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.

But democracy needs structure to work, in the form of laws and policies.

And the sight of the US Congress building in Washington enveloped in scaffolding is an ironic reminder of the political gridlock that has brought the democratic process to a grinding stop, says Katty Kay, in an essay for the BBC's Democracy Day.