Published: April 14, 2006
James Madison understood that the men who would run the newly created government would not be saints. From his writings in the Federalist Papers – "But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."
Even yet, we are not governed by angels.
James Madison defined tyranny as the concentration of powers in one branch of the government: "The great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department consists in giving to those who administer each department, the necessary constitutional means, and personal motives, to resist encroachments of the others."
He realized that the personal ambitions and vanity of officeholders would cause them to challenge any overreaching.
Perhaps those who still trust the current president to govern competently will respond to explain that faith. He was elected despite investigations into his insider stock trading and cronyism. Think of a man whose integrity you truly admire. Does he share such lapses of character?
After railing against leaks, promising appropriate measures against anyone in his administration who leaked information, the president now is identified as a source of leaks.
Right up to the week before the invasion of Iraq, he claimed he had not made the decision to begin military action. Many months before, he had already told Tony Blair that there would be war, and even explored ideas about how to provoke Iraq into an action that would provide legitimate cover for the invasion.
Now the attention turns to Iran. The military strike plan denials have already begun. I cannot understand the hesitance of Congressional leaders to challenge the president on this. What is the risk of public backlash when he is polling 36 percent approval?
Newt Gingrich recently suggested a campaign slogan for the Democrats: "Had enough?" Indeed, the only hope for the Republicans may be Democratic impotence. And Democrats obligingly do their part by toiling without cease to continue their futility.
Thomas Jefferson relied on "the common sense and good judgment of the American people" to steady the republic. That has been the last resort when leaders endangered the constitutional checks and balances before now. We are the strongest yet least respected branch of government. Call your congressman.
Keizer writer Don Vowell steps onto his soapbox regularly in the Keizertimes.