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As campaign '97 enters its final phase, voters will be hearing the blather that has become the trademark of American politics.

Determined to get a share of the perks that make public office so attractive, the candidate, often with meager credentials and a lack of experience, can only focus on the real or contrived shortcomings of the incumbent.

Just as determined to keep the good times rolling, the incumbent will point proudly to his accomplishments, explaining to constituents the benefits they will realize with their representative remaining in office.

Senior citizens can look forward to bigger and better recreational facilities.

Property owners can only be delighted to hear taxes will be frozen and possibly reduced.

The financial burden borne by families of students will be eased by more aid to education.

Organized activities and programs to keep youngsters off the streets and out of trouble shall be a priority.

Environmentalists will be promised more green space.

More of everything for everyone. And why not? Politicians have always known that there is no bottom to the tax-money barrel.

Is there one candidate anywhere in this remarkable republic who will simply promise, if elected, to fulfill the duties and obligations of public office to the best of his or her ability?

It would be naive to imagine such a person being in politics today. This is because election campaigns now consist of three absolute essentials:

1. Criticism approaching character assassination of opponents.

2. Proliferation of rash promises.

3. Solicitation and acceptance of "campaign contributions."

Some consolation is to be had, however, by reflecting on the fact that it is still the electorate that decides who comes in, who stays and who goes out.

This was made clear by the American humorist-philosopher Will Rogers some 70 years ago after several well-entrenched lawmakers involved in a major Washington scandal lost their bid for re-election by a wide margin.

"Sure the voters were responsible for giving the political hacks those good jobs," he said, "but don't forget it was the same voters who threw them out."

Thomas L. Trabert Sr. Eggertsville

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