Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
Sure, U.S. democracy became more democratic over the time, starting with the expansion of the franchise to non-land owning males under Andrew Jackson. However, to say it was never a "democracy" is really a semantic question where you redefine democracy to be "direct democracy;" or have to include institutions which are uncommonly present in the world's democracies.
This redefinition of democracy really falls apart when you look at literature using democracy in a scientific sense, e.g. Democratic Peace Theory, "the closest thing we have to a law in political science."
There is a school of thought in comparative politics called "American Exceptionalism" -- in this case, meaning that the U.S. Constitution is exceptional in that it only works in the US -- other places that have tried using the American model, with the strong executive; end up devolving into dictatorships. See Dahl, Robert Polyarchy .
Believe it or not, is it actually the 5th Republic French Constitution (the DeGaulle constitution) that has proven the most successful in bringing democracy to democratizing nations.
Reforms like proportional representation, abolishment of the electoral college, and institutions to do away with the two-party system have been long in coming to the American political system to keep it in line with the modern conception of democracy. Instead, it keeps slipping into this vaguely democratic polyarchy.
So far, I have (previously having no experience doing work on cars):
Installed Pioneer head unit w/ DVD player + ebrake bypass (no I do not watch DVDs while driving, it's just easier to bypass than connect the ebrake
Replaced speakers with SEAS Lotus
Replaced battery with an optima yellowtop for the soundsystem (stock 90A alternator works great though)
Installed subwoofer in custom enclosure (easy to find custom fiberglass for these cars)
Installed remote starter
Disabled the blasted beeping when a passenger doesn't put on their seatbelt
I'm sure you could do a lot more with one of these, but that's just what I've been able to do in a year or two of playing around with it. I am no longer at all intimidated by opening my car up and doing work on it, if you can put together a PC and do legos, you can work on a Subaru.
Here's an example in commercial marketing: