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I am a retired clinical psychologist, and I fear that I am witnessing an awful trend in American culture — the vilifying of public persons who have had periods of indiscretion in their lives and the insistence that public figures have perfect records. This inevitably leads to bland toadies holding office who get nothing done but look good.

What we need in public office are persons of character. If those past indiscretions are egregious enough as to indicate damaged character, that is one thing, but if we exclude from office those who do stupid things in school, I think we lose many good souls.

Emmett Early, Seattle