Our vices are suppressed by our own moral code of ethics, the views of others and judicial punishment.
For those in high ranking, political, power positions the above three rarely apply to them. Their moral code is shielded by greed and power, the views of others is not important as they retain power over them and as far as judicial repercussions, a different set of rules for them and us.
The reality of our republic remaining civilized and our government driving the wants of its constitients is simply based on three things:
1. Maintaining an open dialogue on political matters with us
2. Maintaining a fear that constituents will vote them out of office
3. Maintaining a fear that constituents will use arms against them