Examples like these remind us that public debate at its best is a part of governing, not of campaigning. Webster and Burke, Cicero and Demosthenes—all spoke in deliberative assemblies to a specific group of their fellow citizens who were empowered to decide together a particular law or course of action.

Their speeches were transcribed and published beyond the confines of the chamber to a much wider audience, but that was secondary; the immediate goal was to govern.

-Bryan Garsten ‘The sorry state of American debate‘ The Wall Street Journal


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