This article were originally published as the Editor's page in The Beverly Hills Bar Journal, during Mr. Shacter's tenure.

ELECTION MANIA (Summer 1988)

Every four years, we in the United States experience presidential elections with all of their hoopla and attention-grabbing efforts. Our caucuses, primaries and political party conventions are reported extensively by the print media and brought into our homes by radio and television.

And yet, this year the pollsters tell us that the American public has lost interest in the political process, as evidenced by declining ratings. What could be the cause?

Could it be that the candidates are so similar? Or equally lackluster? Or are the party platforms considered largely irrelevant in predicting the course of any future administration? Could it just be that we long for a simpler time . . . a time with less delay, less expense, less bureaucracy, fewer impersonal contacts, genuine collegiality, traditional values, and the sanctity of one's word as his bond.

Individually, each one of us decides how he will deal with his fellows. It may be interesting to learn from a recent biographer how one of our most famous lawyers-turned-president chose to do so.

Officially, Lincoln would throw his door open at ten and let in a river of raucous humanity -- interviewers, politician, office seekers, businessmen, sobbing mothers who wanted their sons released from the army, and pretty young wives who flirted with him to promote their military husbands. At times Lincoln enjoyed all the attention he received - particularly from the young women. And he was courteous and attentive to most everyone -- the jobless, the infirm, the promoters, the parvenus -- who passed through his doors. He avoided false enthusiasms, never lied or exclaimed, "I am delighted to see you" when he wasn't delighted. Usually he would greet people with "What can I do for you?" Then he would listen, stroking his beard, and would promise to do what he could if the request were reasonable. If he was in a hurry to get rid of someone, he would crack a joke and with both of them laughing would ease the caller out the door. Sensitive himself, he tried to give everybody something, if only "a quaint phrase" or a memorable poem. Once he recited an entire poem of Oliver Wendell Holmes to a group of enchanted ladies.

Lincoln's own words in his second inaugural address ring out, clearly defining his priorities and agenda:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan-to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

If Mr. Lincoln lived today, what would he say about our society, our election campaigns, the legal profession, and such contemporary professional issues as state bar dues and discipline, lawyer advertising and the need for mandatory continuing legal education (including ethics)? One can only wonder.