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Letter: Politics of the day

I’m old enough to remember a time when Americans respected, if they did not revere, their representatives in Congress, whether they shared party affiliation or not. These were men (almost exclusively then) who represented us, and there was a shared trust in their will and ability to do the people’s — our — work. This trust carried us through two world wars, the Great Depression, the assassination of presidents.

It is unlikely that, on the whole, those politicians were any more virtuous and selfless than today’s. Read your history.

The perception is abroad and almost universally accepted now, it seems, that politicians are a despicable lot. Some political wannabes themselves spew this drivel. And the electronic media thrive on it. I am sick of the presumably witty emails forwarded by otherwise intelligent and well-meaning people denigrating politicians with a broad, mindless stroke.

Paradoxically, polls show that while the majority disdain politicians, they like and trust their own representatives. Think about that.

In such a poisonous atmosphere reasonable politicians — say the word, it’s not dirty — from both parties have dropped out or been defeated. So why would we expect anyone but a masochist or an opportunist to become a politician? We’re doing this to ourselves.

We’ll get what we expect. That’s depressing.

BELDEN R. MERIMS

Shelburne Falls

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