Author Topic: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)  (Read 533 times)

Offline Chaz

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The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« on: February 05, 2020, 06:17:32 am »
Quote
I accidently nuked this thread.  I saved and reposed Dflower's OP.

While a majority of American Buddhists overall voted for Hillary Clinton, a large portion of Asian-American Buddhists voted for Donald Trump. Many Asian-Americans are socially conservative and many also fled countries negatively affected by leftist economic policies.

Conversely, many Buddhist converts leaned left before converting to Buddhism and brought their liberal sensibilities with them. But the Buddha taught non-attachment to views, not political partisanship, as exemplified by the blind men and the elephant.

Regardless of how a person might feel about Donald Trump or his policies, it’s wrong to insist that Buddhists in the United States be a monolithic voting block. Instead, we should read the parable of the blind men and the elephant, and tolerate a variety of perspectives and opinions.

While I might never vote for Donald Trump, I’m thankful he’s not Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-sung, Pol Pot or Mao Zedong, and I have no right to judge someone whose family fled a despotic leftist regime and who’d vote for Trump because of it. Such judgment would be an attachment to views.

The majority of people in historically Buddhist countries traditionally view abortion as a grave karmic offense that violates the Buddha’s principle of ahimsa or non-violence. The traditional monastic rules of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism forbid the procedure of abortion or assisting a woman in procuring an abortion.

This is one reason why many Asian-American Buddhists traditionally vote Republican. If non-violence as a principle is to be upheld, should we consider the impact that unfettered access to abortion has on the most innocent and defenseless? Did Hillary Clinton go too far in demanding unrestricted and tax-payer funded abortion?

I’ve never voted for a Republican presidential candidate, but the Buddha taught non-attachment to views. Who am I to tell someone from a traditionally Buddhist culture to not vote according to the dictates of their own conscience? What point is there of the legends surrounding the Buddha’s conception if it was just a glob of tissue?

Offline Chaz

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2020, 06:17:54 am »
While a majority of American Buddhists overall voted for Hillary Clinton, a large portion of Asian-American Buddhists voted for Donald Trump. Many Asian-Americans are socially conservative and many also fled countries negatively affected by leftist economic policies.
[/quote]

Do you have some stats to back up your opinion?

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Conversely, many Buddhist converts leaned left before converting to Buddhism and brought their liberal sensibilities with them.

Again, stats?

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But the Buddha taught non-attachment to views, not political partisanship, as exemplified by the blind men and the elephant.

True enough but you seem to be thinking that attachment is something that can be turned on/off like a light switch.

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Regardless of how a person might feel about Donald Trump or his policies, it’s wrong to insist that Buddhists in the United States be a monolithic voting block.

Does Buddhism, as a monolithic voting block insist that other Buddhists vote with them?

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Instead, we should read the parable of the blind men and the elephant, and tolerate a variety of perspectives and opinions.

I'm not sure that parable actually applies.  I've always thought it applies to perspective rhater than toleration.

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While I might never vote for Donald Trump, I’m thankful he’s not Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-sung, Pol Pot or Mao Zedong, and I have no right to judge someone whose family fled a despotic leftist regime and who’d vote for Trump because of it. Such judgment would be an attachment to views. 

A lot of them fled despotic right-wing regimes too.

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The majority of people in historically Buddhist countries traditionally view abortion as a grave karmic offense that violates the Buddha’s principle of ahimsa or non-violence. The traditional monastic rules of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism forbid the procedure of abortion or assisting a woman in procuring an abortion.

Perhaps, but we should also promote the broader view.  Making abortion illegal will simply send it to the back alleys it used to be in and women will die along with their unborn.  We need to be able to provide access to safe, effective and affordable birth control, on demenad for everyone.  If women don't have unwanted pregnancies, they won't seek abortion.

Also, men should not be making decisions about issues that are, at this time, entirely for and about women.

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Did Hillary Clinton go too far in demanding unrestricted and tax-payer funded abortion?

Not in my mind.

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What point is there of the legends surrounding the Buddha’s conception if it was just a glob of tissue?

WTAF, Dflower!  Wouldcare to explain yourself?

Offline Gibbon

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2020, 09:53:33 am »
Dear Dharma flower,

I agree, the way people vote depends on their background more than anything else.   Our views are formed by the totality of our experience, especially our upbringing in a certain society.  It is really hard to have mutual understanding across those boundaries.   For example, I grew up behind the Iron Curtain and find that it is impossible to convey this life experience, and priorities, to the people born in the West.  They form their views from a totally different set of presuppositions.

But it does not matter.  When we practice Dharma, we observe how views are formed, how thoughts arise and fall away.  Any view is therefore passing and questionable.   The Dharma is much bigger than here and now -- this moment, this society, will pass.  But the Dharma will remain until samsara is ended.

Anybody demanding that Buddhists vote a certain way is just trying to divide people and create political power for himself.  It has nothing to do with the Dharma.

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2020, 10:04:11 pm »
While a majority of American Buddhists overall voted for Hillary Clinton, a large portion of Asian-American Buddhists voted for Donald Trump. Many Asian-Americans are socially conservative and many also fled countries negatively affected by leftist economic policies.

Do you have some stats to back up your opinion?

As reported by Tricycle, people from traditionally Buddhist countries might have opinions on a whole host of issues that American converts would disagree with vehemently:

Quote
Historically speaking, Buddhism has tended to support conservative status quo regimes in Asia, going all the way back to India. In the contemporary world, virtually all of the democratic countries with a significant Buddhist population are currently ruled by right-wing political groups.

Here in North America, there are large numbers of registered Republican Buddhists. Many of them are Asian-Americans, immigrants or the descendants of immigrants who fled left-wing violence in their native countries. One can only believe that Buddhists are naturally aligned with liberalism if no time has been spent among Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Chinese, or other Asian-Americans.  Anti-Communism drives many such Buddhists into the Republican Party, as does similar views on traditional values, economic policy, patriotism, and other issues.

One of the greatest disconnects with the Democrats is over abortion, which the Democratic Party supports and the Republican Party opposes. The belief that life begins at conception is nearly universal across Buddhist Asia, and the overwhelming majority of Buddhist monks, nuns, and priests believe abortion to be a violation of the first precept. This has led many Buddhist leaders in Asian-American communities to endorse Republican candidates.  At the same time, we have to be careful about stereotyping Asian-American Buddhism, a diverse phenomenon that also includes many Democrats and other liberals.

When we look at the wider picture, the chorus of convert Buddhist support for liberals looks less like a religious position, and more like a class and ethnicity one. Most convert Buddhists already supported a liberal political orientation before they became involved with Buddhism, and convert Buddhism draws heavily from a section of the educated, white, middle-to-upper class demographic that supports liberal candidates regardless of whether the individual believers are Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or agnostic.  Naturally such people are attracted to elements of Buddhism that seem to resonate with liberal values, but it is worth asking how much of this is an inherent liberal bias within Buddhism, and how much is the process of picking and choosing which selects only compatible parts of Buddhism and leaves aside other, central practices and views that are less supportive of liberal positions.

Even within this demographic of convert Buddhism, there is reason to think that there are significant numbers of right-wing Buddhists who largely remain quiet about their views, perhaps from a feeling that they are actively silenced by the strident voices of their left-wing fellow practitioners. We can see evidence of this in the Pew Forum’s recent U.S. Religious Landscape survey. The survey is flawed, but one area it does manage to capture fairly well are precisely these convert Buddhists, who if anything are over-represented in the survey sample.  Even in this survey that skews in some ways toward the more liberal end of American Buddhism, we find that 18% of Buddhists are Republican in orientation and 44% consider themselves moderates or conservatives, not liberals…
https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/voting-buddhist/

While pro-choice traditionally means the government staying out of abortion, it now entails taxpayer funding for abortion. This is because all the major 2020 Democratic candidates now support repealing the Hyde Amendment, as did Hillary Clinton and the official 2016 Democratic platform.

According to pro-choice activists, the aborted child is just a glob of "pregnancy tissue."
https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS724US725&sxsrf=ACYBGNQs9btxyxRB57Om_a7Q-vffUdE7hA%3A1580965397938&ei=FZ47XsLqOMP_-gSds5_YDQ&q=%22pregnancy+tissue%22+%22planned+parenthood%22&oq=%22pregnancy+tissue%22+%22planned+parenthood%22&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i22i29i30l2.14001.17000..17175...0.2..0.119.1793.17j4......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0j0i22i30j33i160.GUgj8tnGSgc&ved=0ahUKEwiCyciHk7znAhXDv54KHZ3ZB9sQ4dUDCAs&uact=5

Offline Chaz

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2020, 06:02:27 am »
Cool, thanks.


While a majority of American Buddhists overall voted for Hillary Clinton, a large portion of Asian-American Buddhists voted for Donald Trump. Many Asian-Americans are socially conservative and many also fled countries negatively affected by leftist economic policies.

Do you have some stats to back up your opinion?

As reported by Tricycle, people from traditionally Buddhist countries might have opinions on a whole host of issues that American converts would disagree with vehemently:

Quote
Historically speaking, Buddhism has tended to support conservative status quo regimes in Asia, going all the way back to India. In the contemporary world, virtually all of the democratic countries with a significant Buddhist population are currently ruled by right-wing political groups.

Here in North America, there are large numbers of registered Republican Buddhists. Many of them are Asian-Americans, immigrants or the descendants of immigrants who fled left-wing violence in their native countries. One can only believe that Buddhists are naturally aligned with liberalism if no time has been spent among Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Chinese, or other Asian-Americans.  Anti-Communism drives many such Buddhists into the Republican Party, as does similar views on traditional values, economic policy, patriotism, and other issues.

One of the greatest disconnects with the Democrats is over abortion, which the Democratic Party supports and the Republican Party opposes. The belief that life begins at conception is nearly universal across Buddhist Asia, and the overwhelming majority of Buddhist monks, nuns, and priests believe abortion to be a violation of the first precept. This has led many Buddhist leaders in Asian-American communities to endorse Republican candidates.  At the same time, we have to be careful about stereotyping Asian-American Buddhism, a diverse phenomenon that also includes many Democrats and other liberals.

When we look at the wider picture, the chorus of convert Buddhist support for liberals looks less like a religious position, and more like a class and ethnicity one. Most convert Buddhists already supported a liberal political orientation before they became involved with Buddhism, and convert Buddhism draws heavily from a section of the educated, white, middle-to-upper class demographic that supports liberal candidates regardless of whether the individual believers are Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or agnostic.  Naturally such people are attracted to elements of Buddhism that seem to resonate with liberal values, but it is worth asking how much of this is an inherent liberal bias within Buddhism, and how much is the process of picking and choosing which selects only compatible parts of Buddhism and leaves aside other, central practices and views that are less supportive of liberal positions.

Even within this demographic of convert Buddhism, there is reason to think that there are significant numbers of right-wing Buddhists who largely remain quiet about their views, perhaps from a feeling that they are actively silenced by the strident voices of their left-wing fellow practitioners. We can see evidence of this in the Pew Forum’s recent U.S. Religious Landscape survey. The survey is flawed, but one area it does manage to capture fairly well are precisely these convert Buddhists, who if anything are over-represented in the survey sample.  Even in this survey that skews in some ways toward the more liberal end of American Buddhism, we find that 18% of Buddhists are Republican in orientation and 44% consider themselves moderates or conservatives, not liberals…
https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/voting-buddhist/

While pro-choice traditionally means the government staying out of abortion, it now entails taxpayer funding for abortion. This is because all the major 2020 Democratic candidates now support repealing the Hyde Amendment, as did Hillary Clinton and the official 2016 Democratic platform.

According to pro-choice activists, the aborted child is just a glob of "pregnancy tissue."
https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS724US725&sxsrf=ACYBGNQs9btxyxRB57Om_a7Q-vffUdE7hA%3A1580965397938&ei=FZ47XsLqOMP_-gSds5_YDQ&q=%22pregnancy+tissue%22+%22planned+parenthood%22&oq=%22pregnancy+tissue%22+%22planned+parenthood%22&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i22i29i30l2.14001.17000..17175...0.2..0.119.1793.17j4......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0j0i22i30j33i160.GUgj8tnGSgc&ved=0ahUKEwiCyciHk7znAhXDv54KHZ3ZB9sQ4dUDCAs&uact=5

Offline Chaz

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2020, 06:21:33 am »

I the case of voting, unless one decides to surrender their sacred franchise  to vote, we must delve, hopefully with balance ,into the world of "attachment to view".  You can't go to the polls without some sense of deciding on what view will inform our vote and that vote is VERY important.  That's ok. 

Yes, the Buddha taught about attachment as the the causes of suffering.  So what?  If I'm attached to the view that the president is pure evil and will vote against him in November.  That probably won't change.  So I'm attached.  That's my karma and that's all it is.  Will I see enlighteement because it?  Doubtful, but enlightenment in this lifetime has never seemed like a resonable outcome of my practice, anyway.

As western Buddhists, we try to enforce some sort of orthodoxy all the time.  Our jargon, the precepts, and diet are constant sources of tension and strife within the mandala.   It's a result of the western experience with Judeo/Christianity, where fights over orthodoxy are as old as the religion itself.  We are possessed with this perverse need to see that everyone else believes and behaves just like us.

I ethnic Buddhists want to vote to the right, why not. They have a right.

If you want to see a shining, historic reasoning about a vote, watch Mitt Romney's speech before the senate yesterday:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/02/05/mitt-romney-trump-impeachment-trial-vote-announcement-full-vpx.cnn

Dear Dharma flower,

I agree, the way people vote depends on their background more than anything else.   Our views are formed by the totality of our experience, especially our upbringing in a certain society.  It is really hard to have mutual understanding across those boundaries.   For example, I grew up behind the Iron Curtain and find that it is impossible to convey this life experience, and priorities, to the people born in the West.  They form their views from a totally different set of presuppositions.

But it does not matter.  When we practice Dharma, we observe how views are formed, how thoughts arise and fall away.  Any view is therefore passing and questionable.   The Dharma is much bigger than here and now -- this moment, this society, will pass.  But the Dharma will remain until samsara is ended.

Anybody demanding that Buddhists vote a certain way is just trying to divide people and create political power for himself.  It has nothing to do with the Dharma.

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2020, 11:48:41 pm »
According to the official U.S. Senate website of Bernie Sanders, “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina” than in the United States.
https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

This is a slap in the face to the many Asian Buddhists who fled despotic leftist regimes. Socialist Venezuela is an unmitigated disaster, much like the failed regimes of Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-sung, Pol Pot, and Mao Zedong.

There are more Buddhists in the United States than in any country outside Asia, especially since it has been a land of opportunity for the world’s poor and oppressed. Would the Buddha teach Senator Sanders to be more grateful?

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2020, 05:25:28 pm »


Ok, DF there's a couple things I have to say, here.

First of all, your Sanders quote comes from an article he wrote about 10 years. 

The article is about income disparity and the need to reduce it, especially among blacks and hispanics.  It's a typically socialist approach and not at all surprising one considering the fact the Sanders is a Democratic Socialist.




According to the official U.S. Senate website of Bernie Sanders, “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina” than in the United States.
https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

This is from the last paragraph of his article, and you take and use it completely out of context. The full sentance is:

Quote
These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger.


Quote
This is a slap in the face to the many Asian Buddhists who fled despotic leftist regimes.

The article and your quote, in context is about incomdosparity and little or nothing to do with depotism.  At the time of Sander's article, there was a great deal more income equlity in these socialist countries than in our capitalist one.  So what Sander's wrote is actually pretty acurate.

It couldn't be about Asians fleeing despotic regimes.  It's about incomeand the American Dream.  Those Asians coming to this country deserve the same income equlity as blacks and hispanics in this country deserve. 

Slap in the face?

Hardly.

Quote
Socialist Venezuela is an unmitigated disaster, much like the failed regimes of Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-sung, Pol Pot, and Mao Zedong.

At the time, Venezuela was doing well, under Hugo Chavez.  He may not have been the nicest guy in the neighborhod, but his country could hadly be termed an "unmitigated disaster".

Ho Chi Minh's Vietnam is doing quite well.  In fact it could be argued there manufacturing sector is doing better than ours.  Korea's regime continues Kim's son.  They may not be everyone's fave, but hardly a failure. Mao?  China may not be, strictly speaking, communist anymore, but the course he set his country hardly failed.  Pol-Pot, I'll give that one.

Quote
There are more Buddhists in the United States than in any country outside Asia, especially since it has been a land of opportunity for the world’s poor and oppressed. Would the Buddha teach Senator Sanders to be more grateful?

Maybe?  Maybe not?  How about teaching to not base a post/teaching on a quote taken entirely out of context, not to mention a distinct anti-socialist bias.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2020, 06:22:37 pm »
Was Venezuela under Hugo Chavez a better place to live than the United States?

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2020, 07:53:20 pm »
Was Venezuela under Hugo Chavez a better place to live than the United States?

If we are talking about income equality, as Sanders was, then yes. 

Of course, there's a lot more to it that just that.

Take health care.  I have cancer.  I would recieve better care for that illness in Iceland.  They have better health care, so if my cancer was important enough, Iceland would be a better place to live that the US.

If I had children, Finland would give them the best education.

The Jews fled Nazi Germany (if they could).  Nazism is not leftist.

Salvadorans and others fled their central american countries in the 70s and 80s because of right-wing, so-called death squads.

Earlier this eveningy wife and I were talking about moving to Egypt.  Considering the current socio/political climate in the US, Egypt seems like a real step up.

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2020, 11:07:04 am »
Was Venezuela under Hugo Chavez a better place to live than the United States?

If we are talking about income equality, as Sanders was, then yes. 


Under Hugo Chavez, were the poor richer in Venezuala compared to America's poor, or were the rich poorer? And was Venezuela honestly a better place in terms of average standard of living and human rights under Chavez than the United States? Also, if the system Chavez put into place was so great, why is it so spectacularly failing today?

Can we also look at the implications of having Bernie Sanders' policies implemented? For example, under Medicare for All, up to two million people would lose their jobs. Can we have compassion for these workers and their families? Can we use wisdom and compassion to look at the real-world implications of policy proposals, even policies that we like?

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/big-potential-problem-medicare-jobs-231835156.html

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2020, 02:43:32 pm »

Under Hugo Chavez, were the poor richer in Venezuala compared to America's poor, or were the rich poorer?

We were supposed to be discussing income equality.  You're the one who quoted Sanders on the subject, right?

Quote
if the system Chavez put into place was so great, why is it so spectacularly failing today?

Nothing lasts forever, and besides, you're the one who quoted an essay almost 10 years old and now refuses to address it.

Quote
Can we also look at the implications of having Bernie Sanders' policies implemented? For example, under Medicare for All, up to two million people would lose their jobs. Can we have compassion for these workers and their families? Can we use wisdom and compassion to look at the real-world implications of policy proposals, even policies that we like?

Sure.  Can we show some compassion for all the WV coal miners Trump promised to help?

How about unemployed Gold miners in CO?

Iron miners in MN?

People are gonna loose jobs under a single payer system.  If we don't go that route even more people will face financial ruin because of unafordable/overpriced, inefficient health care.


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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2020, 03:46:52 pm »
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"Dharma Flower":This is a slap in the face to the many Asian Buddhists who fled despotic leftist regimes. Socialist Venezuela is an unmitigated disaster, much like the failed regimes of Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-sung, Pol Pot, and Mao Zedong."

You left out Stalin.
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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2020, 01:55:21 pm »
Sen. Sanders' article claimed that Venezuela was a better place for realizing the American dream than the United States. It wasn't true then and it isn't true now. What good is equality of outcome when the end result is everyone's poor?

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Re: The Buddhist Vote (reposted)
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2020, 11:17:44 am »
Yes, for a Soviet immigrant, no matter Buddhist or not, the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a non-starter.  People in the West are not taught the history of communism due to a failure of the education system, and so our suffering is not on their radar. 

It was Susan Sontag who had it right: "Communism is in itself a variant, the most successful variant, of fascism. Fascism with a human face."

To me, Sanders' collaboration with the Soviet state is a huge insult to the memory of tens of millions dead.  Actually, it probably is over a hundred million, and that includes many lamas and tulkus, among various other people of faith. 

I know that we are viewed as mere ethnics, who should be grateful to vote as we are told.  But I hope that our views, which are born out of huge suffering and much bitter experience, can contribute something to the political discourse in this country, debased as it has become of late.

 


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