Letter writer: Practice what you preach

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

In Asheville, we preach love, tolerance and an open mind. It is all very noble and high-minded. But our actions are anything but — that’s the definition of hypocrisy. Ever since the election, many have demonstrated and spoken out against our new government. When questioned, hyperbole, rhetoric, propaganda and even fake news are often used as justification. Many don’t even know the facts.

If a friend, co-worker or neighbor shows support or even an open mind toward the president, he or she is ridiculed, cursed, derided, even smeared. Does that show love, tolerance or an open mind? It appears more like hatred, intolerance and a closed mind, and is not very becoming.

In President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, he said, “Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.” Good advice. As a veteran and patriot, I used this quote from the same speech in my service: “Ask not what your country can do for you— ask what you can do for your country.”

I say that we should love our neighbor, tolerate a difference of opinion, and give him (Trump) a chance. We might all be surprised by the result.

— Tim Hartigan
Asheville

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54 thoughts on “Letter writer: Practice what you preach

  1. henry

    Based on what Trump has demonstrated in his first month, I would be more than surprised if he took steps to unite the country, such as speaking out sincerely against anti-Semitism. I would be shocked. There are far too many examples of dishonesty, bigotry and secret agendas in his administration. What I have done as a veteran and patriot and will continue to do is to respect the Bill of Rights and Constitution in the face of domestic enemies.

    • Richard B.

      Well Henry, tonight you were shocked. Now what say you? (Assuming you watched, or heard much of the President’s speech tonight}.
      And, given your charges of dishonesty, etc., in the Trump Administration, then I
      should be confident that you would agree that one of the biggest mistakes
      the Democratic Party made this election cycle was to support Hillary the Crooked
      as the candidate.
      Not to mention the overt attempts to deceive the public with the Benghazi “anti-Moslem” video, the
      secret (until a local reporter spotted them) meeting between the Attorney General and the husband of a person
      who was under investigation by the FBI, “you can keep your doctor….the average family will save $2500 in medical insurance…”,
      etc., etc.

  2. WAVL

    I second your call to love our neighbors, and tolerate differences of opinions. I guess what I’m stuck on is what it means to “give Trump a chance?” If he does or proposes something I disagree with, or that potentially impacts my livelihood or well-being, can I not speak out (respectfully) against it?

    • Lulz

      Problem is no one on the left sees the sheer madness in what they’re opposing.

      • WAVL

        I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Trump proposes ramping up military spending and gutting spending on environmental protections. I support the opposite. I’m not sure it behooves me to close my mouth and “give Trump a chance” to see if environmental protections are really necessary. You can disagree, and have an equally valid viewpoint. Where does sheer madness come in to play?

  3. bsummers

    In Asheville, we preach love, tolerance and an open mind.

    And when we see that the man elected to the White House, and the people he surrounds himself with, and those he places in positions of authority throughout the government, and so many of his supporters clearly don’t believe in those things… it’s time to fight. It’s not “hypocrisy”, as you call it. That’s a cheap shot, Mr. Hartigan.

  4. The Real World

    Good and important letter. But, unfortunately, it won’t impact anything.

    Until the mainstream media and entertainment industry (the primary influencer for millions…and boy, don’t they both know it) start regularly presenting messages of tolerance, open-mindedness and accountability — you will see no shift. But, that doesn’t sell as well as perpetual strife does so don’t hold your breath waiting for it because you’ll croak. Add that powerful people/entities benefit greatly from the divide and conquer strategy. We fight each other and don’t pay as much attention to them. Evidence of that? Look how many long-time Congress critters keep getting re-elected even though their effectiveness is debatable, at best.

    And many people have truly become addicted to “the fight”. It’s an adrenaline jolt, a bit like coffee. If you take away their “bad guy”, to which they feel morally superior, they’ll have a gaping hole in their life. Nope, it’s going to take a huge calamity and extensive nationwide pain before citizens will dial into genuine humility and thoughtful compromise again. Don’t shoot me for the stark message, that’s humanity. Prove me wrong, I would be most grateful.

  5. Peter Robbins

    We gave the President a chance to release his tax returns. And we weren’t surprised by the the result. Not at all.

  6. bsummers

    The whole “Give Trump a chance” nonsense reminds me of the “Don’t run! We are your friends!” scene from Mars Attacks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vUrAMxmO_A

    We know who Trump and his team are, and where they want to take America. We, the majority, will resist that. It is the nature of things in America. Asking us to silence our opposition to Trump is a cynical and insincere gambit.

    Tell you what – go back in time and suggest that Republicans give the smart, hip, black guy fresh in the White House a fair shake. They’ll laugh you out of the room.

    • Peter Robbins

      We need to apply some psychology here. Trump supporters have fallen into an abusive relationship with a con man, perhaps acting out of resentments against past authority figures in their lives. They may not currently be in a place where they can see reason, but there is always hope. We should be good friends to them by showing love and support, to be sure, but we must remain firm. The worst thing we can do at this stage is enable them by letting them believe that they thinking clearly in any way. When they finally see the truth, they will respect us for it. Until the next election.

      • Peter Robbins

        Correction: That should be “are thinking clearly.” Sorry for the slip-up, team. When our friends get their blood up, they’ll pounce on the least little weakness. Complaining about other people’s perceived faults is what they do.

      • Huhsure

        From my run-ins with Trump supporters, they aren’t the abused, they’re the abusers, and Trump is allowing them to finally let their freak flags fly, not only hurling racist abuse upon anyone a shade darker, but engaging in random acts of terror (bomb threats to Jewish centers, for example) and violence (the recent killing in Kansas.) Trump says nothing. They say nothing. You should have heard the vile garbage pouring from the mouth-holes of his followers at the rally here in Asheville. Astounding level of vitriol.

        These aren’t “the conned,” they are the cons. Look at how frequently they agree with his lies, after they’ve been proven to be lies, after any reasonable person would at least stop repeating them.

        They aren’t the bullied, they’re the bullies. In one month Trump has scapegoated Muslims, the Intelligence community, Mexicans, the press, and TRANSGENDERED CHILDREN. Children! And his crew have gleefully piled on. I can say that in all fairness because he currently has an 84% approval rating among his adherents.

        So no, I don’t believe they’re abused, I don’t believe they’re conned. Not in the slightest.

        • bsummers

          A bomb threat was called into Asheville’s Jewish Community Center today. Typically, there’s dozens of children there during the day.

          But it has absolutely nothing to do with Trump’s cozying up to white supremacists, making them think that now is their time to shine. Right?

  7. Grant Millin

    Five of the commenters to this LTTE are anonymous avatars. That’s considered ‘civil’ by MX leadership.

    I think such activity simply adds to Tim’s points. In no way to I think Trump was justified in proving a billionaire crackpot can win the presidency, like a sick reality show contest. I would hope congress and Federal service staff strike and strike hard as to pulling this ‘government’ away from Putin’s grasp. We all need to dust off relevant policy on such issues and form a strategy. I suggest looking at the Preamble to the US Constitution as a place to justify genuine ethics and good sustainability strategy. That’s out national strategy and a big part of the rationale for our liberal democracy. Just looking to Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ellison for the rights ideas and supporting words isn’t enough right now.

    But despite this funny and terrifying way Trump allies use good manners to cover up the madness, it’s true that the opposition has to be awesome in contrast as to what truth and love look like at this point. Being a anonymous avatar adds nothing.

    Everyone, especially MX staff, need to do a simple Internet search for the phrase “anonymous comments”. Clearly many excellent sources of American journalism are saying no to anonymous comments and cancelled the practice years ago.

    Otherwise notice Tim is probably his real name. Why are the majority of the respondents anonymous; and why would you all let the important possible alternative to what Tim is putting out be so undermined by y’alls forum practices, MX?

    • The Real World

      a) The hyper-sensitivity about anonymous names always seems to arise when snowflakes are feeling vulnerable. (hint: work on your reasoning to feel more secure).
      b) What do you not understand about how the world wide web works?
      c) The Putin stuff makes me laugh. It’s so easy to whip people into a frenzy over smoke and mirrors! My money says keep a sharp eye peeled on the very cozy Trump/Netanyahu relationship. That’s where there are likely to be some things of consequence occurring while people are distracted and flip-flapping about Putin.
      d) Gee, I’m the only one who has thought and spoken of the benefit/loss to Mtn X in these suggested changes people have put forth (which they find easier to do than changing themselves). Seems the rest of you are focused on old #1. Same as it ever was.

  8. bsummers

    Want to read one of the dumbest, most infuriating things ever uttered by an American politician?

    “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

    That’s Donald J. Trump, just a few hours ago, addressing the National Governor’s Association. NOBODY knew it was complicated, Mr. President? Really?!? I hope they weren’t eating while he was talking, because with 50 of them in there, statistically at least one of them would have choked and died.

    This is the guy during the campaign who promised that he knew better than anyone (“Believe me.”), and that he had a plan to replace the ACA with “something terrific”…

    • The Real World

      I don’t consider either word derogatory; merely descriptive and accurate. But, if you take them that way, that’s your choice. However, you do not have the right to assign me my intent. That is one of the civility issues on this website.

      As I state above, neither Mtn Xs’ or the letter writers requests are going to result in positive change. Many of the comments above indicate that. Too many are addicted to fighting……to feel alive and worthy. Sad! It’s still all about old #1.

      • Huhsure

        “I don’t consider either word derogatory; merely descriptive and accurate.”

        How convenient for you.

      • NFB

        “I don’t consider either word derogatory; merely descriptive and accurate.”

        Like the word “deplorable?”

      • Able Allen

        Okay, this conversation is getting off topic. You are welcome to take it over to the thread about the civility challenge, but no more nitpicking over whether what you called one another is insulting here. It takes away from the more important discussion and demeans one another.
        Thank you.

        • NFB

          Mr. Allen,

          My apologies for my reply above your comment. It was snarky and you are correct that it was getting off the main topic and I will make an effort to give myself a little time before I hit post in the future.

        • bsummers

          Just wanted to point out, in a thread about how Trump critics are supposed to be more tolerant, loving, etc. we’re still subject to insults. I believed that was relevant to the topic.

          • Peter Robbins

            I agree. Totally legit. When our friends on the right use words like “hysterical” and “snowflake” to characterize us (I’m jealous, by the way; the best I’ve been called on these pages is the unoriginal “mangina”), it’s descriptive, accurate and completely impersonal. But when we say they’re “wrong” or “misinformed” about something, we’re being intolerant of alternative factual paradigms. Shame on us for betraying our inclusive values. But I can change. Really, I can. Next spring, I’m going to start rooting for the Greenville Drive when they come to town. Insincerely, mind you, but just enough to make them feel welcome and loved. When y’all feel the good vibes, that’ll be my work.

          • Able Allen

            I’m happy to point out that while it wouldn’t fly to say: “you’re a snowflake,” there is some room for potentially using terms that aren’t accolades. It may be important to be able to just throw out the idea that leftists are snowflakes or rightists are gas-lighters. It may pass muster depending on other context. Obviously, none of that’s particularly strong material in a discussion though.

  9. luther blissett

    Love the sinner, hate the sin.

    The problem with the letter’s argument is that it resorts to airy generalities and sidesteps any mention of policy. “Opinions” are one thing; active support for a set of government actions are another. If one supports rewarding billionaires and polluters, rolling back civil rights, or stripping health coverage from the most vulnerable, then one shouldn’t expect eager validation for those beliefs. What does the letter-writer actually want: tolerance, or affirmation?

  10. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    The usual crowd just doesn’t get (or want to get) the point of the LTE that people who preach “love, tolerance and an open mind”, yet justify “hyperbole, rhetoric, propaganda and even fake news” ( yet “don’t even know the facts”), and (justify) ridicule, cursing, derision, even smearing towards “a friend, co-worker or neighbor” who “shows support or even an open mind toward the president” are hypocrites.

    Sounds like the LTE author hit a nerve. Throw a bunch of rocks into a pack of dogs, and the ones who yelp are the ones who got hit.

    • luther blissett

      Does the administration want to make it easier to pollute? Yes. Has it taken steps to support states that want to restrict civil rights? Yes. Does the GOP — especially “Freedom” Caucus leader Mark Meadows — want to take away people’s health coverage in exchange for cutting taxes on the rich? Yes.

      None of that’s hyperbole. All the LTE proves is that complaints about a lack of “open mindedness” are a lot easier when you avoid spelling out the things everybody else is supposed to be open-minded about.

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        Yet I could probably realistically find rhetoric, propaganda and/or fake news in everything you mentioned. All of it is open to interpretation, and not subject merely to your frames of reference. .For example, you don’t live unless you pollute. What’s an acceptable amount? That’s open to debate.

        • luther blissett

          “All of it is open to interpretation, and not subject merely to your frames of reference.”

          You sound like a conservative’s stereotype of a liberal college professor. How should we interpret Mark Meadows’s statement that even the proposed GOP replacement plan — which replaces premium subsidies with tax credits and covers fewer people — is an unacceptable government handout?

    • Peter Robbins

      With all due respect for your leisure activities, Mr. Snowflake, it’s not always a good idea to throw rocks at canines you don’t know. Not all of them yelp. Some of them bite.

  11. “We might all be surprised by the result.”

    Yes, well, that’s the problem, you see. The left WILL be surprised when this administration succeeds, as it is doing now, and they continue to lose favor and lose elections year after year in all “57 states.” May they continue to become surprised well into a prosperous and happy future.

    By the way, team, I applaud this Republican writer for attempting to hold the opposition to its own rules (Alinsky Rule #4). http://bit.ly/2jauMnw

  12. Peter Robbins

    I say we calm all the hyperbolic criticism and just give the protests a chance to work. If after four years of relentless pressure they haven’t produced the desired results, we can always vote the discredited bums out of office. That is what democracy looks like.

    • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

      I agree. Let all who want to protest do so to their heart’s content.

  13. hauntedheadnc

    I gave Trump a chance and then he…

    1. Restarted the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.

    2. Instituted a federal hiring freeze that blocked 2,000 vital, new positions at the VA, and indefinitely suspended Army childcare programs for vets.

    3. Approved a raid in Yemen that killed 30 people including at least 10 civilians, many of whom were women and children, as well as U.S. Navy Seal Ryan Owens.

    4. Reinstated and strengthened the global gag rule thereby pulling all world-wide federal funding from any institutions that even attempt to educate patients about abortion.

    5. Rescinded federal bathroom protections for trans students.

    6. Used the office of the presidency to criticize Nordstrom, a private company, for no longer selling his daughter’s clothing line.

    7. Didn’t fully divest from his businesses and has transferred many of his companies to his sons opening the door for a litany of potential conflicts of interest.

    8. Didn’t release his tax returns like he promised, and has no plans to do so.

    9. Demonized and repeatedly attacked the free press in order to build a propaganda machine.

    10. Signed a bill reversing the Stream Protection Rule making it far easier for coal companies to dump mining waste in rivers, lakes and streams.

    11. Announced plans to sign executive orders lifting a coal mining ban on federal land, and lifting or limiting restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from utility companies.

    12. Signed an executive order, later ruled to be unconstitutional, barring immigrants and travelers from 7 Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.

    13. Lied about inauguration crowd size.

    14. Lied about the size of his electoral college victory.

    15. Lied about attacks in Sweden, yet never mentioned attacks in Kansas or Quebec perpetrated by white men on people of color.

    16. Lied about being solely responsible for Lockheed Martin cutting $700 million from the F-35 program.

    17. Lied about the New York Times failing.

    18. Lied about Chris Cuomo never asking Senator Blumenthal about misrepresenting his service in Vietnam.

    19. Lied about major news organizations intentionally ignoring terrorist attacks.

    20. Lied about the murder rate being the highest its been in 47 years.

    21. Lied about Philadelphia’s murder rate increasing.

    22. Lied about people being killed at Obama’s farewell address.

    23. Lied about Obamacare covering “very few people.”

    24. Lied about the media being less trusted than congress.

    25. Lied about sanctuary cities being hotbeds of crime.

    26. Said “Any negative polls are fake news.”

    27. Berated the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    28. Allegedly threatened to send U.S. troops into Mexico.

    29. Used the National Prayer breakfast to throw shade at Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    30. Said he would “get rid of and totally destroy” the Johnson amendment, which was designed to keep religion out of politics.

    31. Appointed Betsy Devos, a billionaire GOP donor with no public school experience to run our public school system.

    32. Appointed fossil-fuel-shill and climate change-denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. He’s sued the EPA 13 times.

    33. Appointed Jeff Sessions, a man whose racist comments cost him a federal judgeship in 1986, as the attorney general.

    34. Appointed Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon CEO with no military of government experience as secretary of state.

    35. Appointed Rick Perry, a man with who once forgot the Department of Energy existed, flunked organic chemistry and received Cs and Ds in other science courses to run the Department of Energy.

    36. Appointed Ben Carson, a man with no government, housing or management experience to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Two weeks prior to being nominated, Carson’s business manager Armstrong Williams said “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”

    37. Appointed former Goldman Sachs COO Gary Cohn to head the National Economic Council.

    38. Appointed former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin to head the Treasury Department.

    39. Appointed Alt-right hero and former Breitbart Editor Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and later elevated him to the National Security Council.

    40. Continued to criticize Hillary Clinton, without ever criticizing Vladimir Putin.

    41. Threatened Chicago with martial law.

    42. Threatened to take away funding from all sanctuary cities.

    43. Announced plans to repeal Dodd-Frank and fiduciary rule.

    44. Plans to make major cuts to the EPA while dramatically increasing military spending.

    45. Demeaned our court system and questioned a federal judge’s credentials.

    46. Continued to push evidence-less claims of voter fraud.

    47. Tweeted “I’LL SEE YOU IN COURT” to a court.

    48. Cost taxpayers serious money in travel expenses. Estimates by the Washington Post show that his first month in office has cost nearly as much as Obama’s first year

    49. Set his sons out to travel the globe, growing the Trump brand with secret service in tow while taxpayers are footing the bill.

    50. Nominated Neil Gorsuch, an originalist, for the open supreme court seat.

    51. Hired hateful, loony creationist Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead a higher education task force.

    52. Tapped vaccine-skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head a commission on vaccine safety.

    53. Gave a belligerent 57 minute press conference in which he attacked the media and lied about numerous inconsequential things.

    54. Made a statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day and never mentioned Jewish people.

    55. Fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for saying the travel ban was unconstitutional. A few weeks later, the travel ban was ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

    56. Supported his newly-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind Obama-era efforts and build up the private prison system once again.

    57. Showed that he shakes people’s hands like a frustrated, socially-awkward baboon.

    Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-gave-donald-trump-a-chance-and-then-he_us_58b41f40e4b0e5fdf61974a9

    • The Real World

      Whoa! Somebody has been triggered….big time!

      Didn’t read your whole list (imagine how long it will be in a couple of years). I agree with some, others you just fabricated and others you best be holding some prominent Democrats to your standards as well. Otherwise that hypocrite word is going to show up and rightfully so.

      Wait….how does this list fit with open-minded tolerance and that fluff in the letter above?

      • bsummers

        Which items in this list are “fabricated”? Please be specific.

        • The Real World

          Seriously? Not going to take the time to drill thru it and you would skewer anything put forth just because you prefer to split hairs rather than look for common ground. I suggest re-reading the LTE.

          Can you not recognize that many of those are purely opinion…and I’ll slap a 1K wager on the table that Haunted could care less about any differing opinions (closed mind!) — so why should we care about his/hers?

          Do people really still not grasp how tabloid Huff Po is? That’s a credibility killer right there. Add that a list at least that long could have been devised about our last President, and the one before that and the one before that, etc.

          It’s all patently immature and, yes, a hysterical reaction. POTUS has been in office a whopping 5 weeks. Show me your lists in 2 years and I’ll happily read and consider. Is this still 6th grade? Am I in a time warp?

    • Peter Robbins

      That’s certainly a long list. But, to be fair, let’s not forgot about how the President single-handedly lowered the national debt. In just one month. With just one tweet. And did you notice how what didn’t happened in Sweden didn’t happen again last night? Who gets credit for that? Huh? You won’t read about that in your hoity-toity Fake News.

  14. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    I think we can all agree that it is a good thing that Trump’s focus on sex trafficking has resulted in the arrests of more than 1500 pedophiles. As a comparison, that is about 100 more in one month than in all of 2015.

  15. bsummers

    And I’ll just redirect this to the LTE – many of us find Donald Trump to be just as dishonest and insulting. The HuffPo list above is a good start as to why we aren’t muting our opposition.

    • The Real World

      bsummers – why should anyone consider what you say when you won’t answer a basic and civil inquiry as to the reasons you refuse to seek common ground with others?

      • bsummers

        My reply was deleted, I suppose because I was too frank in my disdain for your question.

  16. The Real World

    Wait, wait….this is just too good. I pose questions to bsummers (who is clearly often cruising this website looking for a fight) asking why he chooses not to seek common ground with others….. and whether he believes that that choice constitutes open-minded tolerance? In other words, I’m trying to learn why he refuses what the letter writer asks (or any reasonable person).

    And Mtn X takes down my post with those questions. For real? When we’re getting down to the actuality of WHY someone will not comply with a fair request, Mtn X sabotages that attempt to learn and understand. Wow, you cannot make this stuff up.

    • Able Allen

      Those questions and his answer had nothing to do with this thread. So I removed both comments. Also, simply phrasing an attack as a question does not make it not an attack. I’m happy to take this up with you off this thread: aallen@mountainx.com

      • bsummers

        Thank you for recognizing the nature of that question, Able – but I’d still like to try to answer it, because I think it does go to the issue raised in the LTE

        Personally, I do seek out common ground with people that I disagree with on some issues. The strange bedfellows I made on the water issue, I won’t go into…

        But for another example, a couple of years ago I found myself in one of the oddest collaborations – with Jane Billelo, of the Tea Party (who submitted another LTE to MX recently on repealing the ACA).

        I reached out to her on the drone issue, and we hit it off immediately. We had the same concerns about govt. use of, and regulation of drones in North Carolina. We were almost completely on the same page, and she invited me down to her monthly meetings to brief her group on the activities of the NCGA, since I had attended the committee hearings on drones. I was down to the Tea Party meetings 3 or 4 times. They were never anything but polite and cordial to me (despite knowing exactly who I was), and they listened attentively & asked how we could work together. Jane & I lobbied legislators pretty much off the same script, and she passed information we culled together to her broader Tea Party network. We also found common ground on the issue of privatization, particularly the use of private toll companies on interstates like I-77. I would say those two issues cost Tim Moffitt dearly in his support from the hard right in his last election defeat to Brian Turner.

        I tell this story because there’s no secret about what I believe in, and what Jane believes in – we will be on opposite sides of 95% of the issues. But we both set those aside to collaborate on the one or two things we agree on. In my view, there’s no such possibility with Trump and the left. He’s a consummate liar and charlatan, and you never know what he really believes in. All you know for sure is what he’s done so far, and it’s not good. His cabinet and advisors of billionaires, Wall Street crooks, and white supremacists tell the tale. So we protest. Get used to it.

        • The Real World

          Thank you for the reply. I see it differently than you do.

          The fact that you found common ground with that lady tells me that you both could find it in other areas. Compromise is what it takes. And if people decide that the goal is more important than their egos, they can often achieve workable solutions.

          “we will be on opposite sides of 95% of the issues.” — That is not an absolute, it is a choice. The change begins with each of us. Achieving can’t occur without trying.

      • The Real World

        I never saw his reply. My questions were totally valid, not an attack, and utterly in line with the content of the letter.

        Mountain X says it wants more civility on their website but how do you hope to accomplish that if people don’t find out where others are coming from? You should be encouraging questions…..if want greater understanding amongst people.

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