Friday, May 3, 2019
The censorial power.........................
His other monument, coequal if not greater, is American politics, the behavior that makes constitutionalism work: the ways and means of acquiring, conferring, and rebuking power, the party organizations and partisan media that are the vehicles of interest, ambition, and thought. He was at the birth of the American political system, and he understood it better than almost all his great peers. Like the Constitution, politics has changed since he died, but not in ways that would make it unrecognizable to him, or that make him foreign to us. It is all around us, in election years, and every day between elections as well.
Politics can be low, sometimes sordid. Much of that has to be endured, because that is the way men are. "If men were angels," as Madison wrote, "no government would be necessary." But some of the shortcomings of politics may be capable of improvement. So say why and do better. As Madison also wrote, "The censorial power is in the people over the government, and not in the government over the people."
-Richard Brookhiser, James Madison