A citizens movement doesn’t have to be leaderless, but the kinds of leaders ensconced at the top of large institutions are not well-suited to be the leaders of civic renewal movements. They can inspire and celebrate such movements, but neither Barack Obama nor Bernie Sanders nor Pope Francis can lead them. Their institutional authority appears to be inimical to the very bottom-up power they’re trying to engender.
Modernity of our sort produces a certain kind of despair and helplessness because the primary sources of hope are technological development and the institutional efforts of technocrats. The best hope of progress is always elsewhere: the Supreme Court, Silicon Valley, the Justice Department. Looking back we see lots of progress but no role for ourselves in achieving more.