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President must have moral, ethical center

The writer of a recent commentary explained the little known difference between a democracy and a republic. She concludes, "James Madison felt that a population needs sufficient intellectual capacity and virtue to assure that virtuous and capable leaders were elected."

Here, the writer nails the precise cause of the incredible chaos and division we now experience. Trump is neither virtuous nor capable, and racial prejudice got him elected. No virtue in sight anywhere. The truth of this and of Trump's personal vulgarity is incontrovertible. He brags of infidelities and abusing women sexually and he's often sued for illegal business practices. Yet, chides Democrats for not applauding his recent speech.

At State of the Union addresses, opposition parties regularly fail to approve a normal President's speech, so why would Democrats applaud, especially for a man like Trump? Further, a Democrat's failure to applaud is nothing compared to the despicable Republican who cried out loud, "You lie" to President Obama, a model of character, integrity, brains, and genuine compassion, none of which Trump possesses.

The shadow of Obama's stature, a constant reminder of Trump's inadequacies, explains his pathological determination to erase Obama's legacy. He can't, of course, because we now know that something in the nature of medicare for all is possible. Eventually we'll have it, despite Republicans' devotion to protecting the very rich from fair taxation.

But America's daunting task now is to inspire Madison's virtue and capacity for clear thinking among Trump supporters. Ironically, Trump's own ineptitude, vulgarity, selfishness and even things like his frequent, costly trips to the golf course, could do more than anything else to show them their huge mistake last election. Above all, a President must be a man or woman of character with a moral and ethical center. Trump shows what happens when these virtues are missing.

Jack Miles

Santa Maria

Homeless in Lompoc must be addressed

Is homelessness just a problem? I believe it has become a disease and it is spreading. The sheer number of homeless continues to grow in Lompoc. Whether by choice or by circumstance, this issue must be addressed.

They gather together in front of vacant stores, at coffee shops, outside markets and wherever they can just be. The mentally ill generally keep to themselves often muttering to themselves, to trees, or to imaginary others. The vast majority, it would seem, are those who travel in small groups asking for “help” or downright demand it.

Many of Lompoc’s citizens are fearful of the homeless. Others don’t want to see them. Still others become immune to their constant presence throughout the city. What can be done? Mental health facilities are non-existent; thanks to Sacramento, local jails are overcrowded with those who should be in state prison.

We, as citizens, must demand better from our elected officials and local police. When homeless people roam the streets with shopping carts taken from businesses for their personal use and there is no consequence, of course they will continue to steal. When a homeless person walks into a business and walks out with merchandise not paid for because they know that owners and managers will not pursue them out of fear of being sued or harmed, of course this reinforces this behavior.

As we see adults riding children’s bikes around town, we all know they must be stolen but, again, nothing happens. We must ask the police chief to have his department enforce the law. Stop the theft. Ensure there are consequences for illegal behavior. Maybe then the homeless will try to rejoin society or move on to another city which does not enforce the law.

John Burke