Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why Shameless Ron Paul Apologist Wesley Messamore Isn't Worth My Time


Last month, I wrote a NewsRealBlog post summarizing the case against Ron Paul. A Paul disciple named Wesley Messamore attempted to refute it at the Young Americans for Liberty blog. I responded in another NRB post, demonstrating that Wesley’s screed consisted almost entirely of dishonesty, misdirection, and simply ignoring information that was too inconvenient.

Curious to see how our apologist friend's reaction, I gave him the link a couple weeks ago. No reply. Several days later, I wondered aloud if Wes was unwilling or unable to defend his conduct, to which he politely responded:
I'm a little jammed up presently with the election (timed perfectly to coincide with some other heavy lifting I'm doing for my non-political, commercial enterprises)... give me some time and I'll respond. Or if you're up for it, I propose we set up a debate to stream live.
Fair enough; we all have real lives beyond the blogosphere. I’d be happy to give him some time, but I wasn’t terribly interested in a live debate, given a) that my schedule is fairly “jammed up” as well, and b) the caliber of his arguments thus far made me doubt such a debate would be worth the time and effort. For politeness’s sake, I replied with the former explanation, and told him to take his time on a blog response. Simple, right?

Wrong. Wes turned around and decided that there was only one option after all, and that it had to be a video debate, because with columns, “it's too easy to wiggle around, equivocate, ignore key arguments, misinterpret (deliberately or not) assertions, and just generally waste time.” For good measure, Wes also whined: “It’s just more time consuming for me to correct your evasions, obfuscations, and equivocations than it is for you to make them.”

At this point, my suspicion of what a waste of time this “debate” would be was confirmed. Wes wanted to change the subject from his ineffectual propagandizing to my supposed unwillingness to accept his challenge (which didn’t start out as a challenge). Unsurprisingly, today he declared victory on YAL using that very spin.

But as I told him, my rebuttal's currently the last word in the debate—the record shows that I’m the one who confronted my opponent’s challenge head-on, not him. My original claims remain intact, while his attempted rebuttal has been discredited. Anyone can read it, and he has done nothing to change the situation. Unless he comes up with a substantive defense of his words or a substantive criticism of mine, I have no need, reason, or obligation to pursue this further.

And anybody halfway familiar with the average cable news “debate” ought to recognize that there isn’t a huge difference between the two formats in the ease with which people can get away with rhetorical trickery. I don’t deny the value of direct real-time discussion, but it’s actually just as arguable that blogging provides the most accountability to audiences.

For one thing, spoken arguments are not fundamentally different from written ones—people make claims and state opinions, and audiences digest them and compare them to one another. For another, blogging offers the convenience of being able to directly link to sources, which audiences can evaluate for themselves with a single click.

Indeed, if you want to know whether or not this medium facilitates sufficient accountability—and, I suspect, the real reason Wes has a problem with it—look no further than the fact that I’ve already been quite able to expose Wes’s use of the very tactics he pretends to oppose (and shamefully attributes to me):
  • I pointed out that he repeatedly made wild, false accusations about what I and other Paul critics think about other issues, apparently without having made any effort to ascertain my actual views first, and without even trying to present evidence that Paul critics are driven by a broader lack of conservatism.
  • I pointed out that he completely ignored the supporting evidence for my claims about Paul’s fringe tendencies and his dishonesty about Israel and other national security & foreign policy issues. His most transparent attempts to change the subject were an astoundingly stupid analogy to David Horowitz and pretending that I criticized Paul for merely being against “Washington running our lives.”
These are specific examples not of Wes being mistaken (although I trounced him for that, too), but of Wes being dishonest. Examples of, to use his words, “evasion, obfuscation, equivocation, dropped context, (etc.).” That dishonesty comes so easily to him, and that he keeps it up even after he knows he’s been called out on it, makes it all the more pitiful when he pretends not to know why I call him dishonest: “Apparently in his eyes, if I say anything in disagreement with him, I'm not merely wrong, I'm lying.”

Wes, you know exactly what I’m referring to when I talk about dishonesty. And your conduct only proves I’m right not to expect a live debate with you to be worth the opportunity cost.

Lastly, a few words about the time aspect. In one of his trademark lame gotcha attempts, Wes claims the “lengthy” comments I’ve left on his blog take more time than his dream debate would, which is absurd—the small handful of comments I left there each took a minute or two at most. Granted, this post took considerably longer (and is arguably an exercise in futility), but I figured that if Wes can devote another blog post to spinning what went down, I can devote one to setting the record straight.

As I said, my daily life is “jammed up” with plenty of responsibilities, such as my senior-year academic duties at Hillsdale College, several extracurricular organizations, holding down an on-campus job, blogging daily for NewsRealBlog, and my own (admittedly-neglected lately) personal blog. Could I make time for a live debate with Wes in the near future? Probably. But again, it wouldn’t be worth the opportunity cost to me, given that I won the blog debate, and that Wes’s conduct has overwhelmingly demonstrated that he’s just not worth the effort.

(And please, spare me the absurdity of suggesting that a single live debate would “settle” anything. If you were a genuine seeker of truth, willing to change your opinion when presented with a better argument or contrary information, you would have done so already, and you certainly wouldn’t have engaged in as much blatant dishonesty. I highly doubt you’d concede much of anything, either about Ron Paul’s integrity or your own.)

But y’know what? When the holiday season rolls around, and I’ve got more time to kill, maybe I’ll take Wes up on his offer. It would be fun to see his smug propagandizing on full display, challenge him on his dubious idea of character, and watch him try to justify his blind devotion to the personality cult surrounding a single deranged politician.

We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m content with the fact that he badly lost this fight, and that he’s demonstrated that Young Americans for Liberty doesn’t deserve the support of serious conservatives.

21 comments:

  1. I'm giving a friend 10:1 odds you won't debate Wes. Make me lose my money.

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  2. The more important question: are you and your friend willing to acknowledge that I've ALREADY BEEN debating Wes...and that so far, I've won?

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  3. Oh it wouldn't be an average cable news melee. We'd have a well-defined and pre-arranged format that we both agree to along the lines that debate leagues use:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_forum_debate

    (Though in the format above, I'd prefer to have cross ex periods instead of cross "fire" which can easily devolve into a fruitless melee.)

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  4. hahaha. I'd take that bet too.

    Sorry, 'debating' through a blog is no substitute for real life. If he is trying to avoid facing key issues why is he so willing to debate you live while you avoid it.

    But if it makes you feel better to repeatedly say you won, i suppose that works too.

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  5. You know what I mean. For the reasons explained above, there's no inherent difference between the two formats that's been preventing you from getting a fair shake, or is preventing the truth from being readily discernible.

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  6. @Calvin,
    I've been keeping up with this little "battle," and you, sir, are a coward. You use the very tactics Wes, rightfully, accuses you of to refute his arguements. Perhaps, to the uninitiated, your arguements may seem valid, but to anyone who actually knows anything about Ron Paul, Young Americans for Liberty, or Wes, it is clear that you are nothing more than a painfully bias blogger seeking to promote your own political agenda, and destroying your credibility in the process.
    If you are so convinced that you are right, why not take this opportunity to crush us silly freedom lovers?

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  7. I think there has been some shaky footing on both sides, due to the sporadic nature of forum posting and the sliding time-frame of the blogosphere in general. I am not convinced that either of you have had a square match to the best of your abilities, and I hope that both of you can agree to define some terms and ground rules, and once the issues are back in focus (as they have ostensibly slid around a bit on both accounts), commit to a re-match from the ground up.

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  8. "Sorry, 'debating' through a blog is no substitute for real life"...says the guy who's posting anonymously to the guy who's full name and picture are right on the page...

    For the last time: reviewing who refuted who will debunk our meme that I've avoided anything.

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  9. RE: Aaron,

    As your own past comments show, you're a fanatical yes-man for Ron Paul who's never been able to refute anything I've written, either. That you side with another Paul cultist means nothing.

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  10. Since you claim that I’m nothing more than “fanatical yes-man for Ron Paul,” who is incapable of refuting your arguments, I’ve decided to take some time out of my evening to share my thoughts on your writing in more detail. Due to character limits, I'll have to break up my post into multiple comments.
    “Whatever one thinks of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the fact is that they were directly motivated not by imperialism or utopianism, but by America’s national security interests, as counterattacks against the global Islamic movement that struck the US on 9/11.”
    This is typical war-mongering rhetoric perpetuated by neo-conservative American exceptionalists who lack the ability, or are unwilling, to look beyond the immediately obvious. Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Osama Bin Laden Unit, was quite clear that the attacks on 9/11 were nothing more than blowback brought on by American interventionism in the affairs of Arabic nations. For decades, the actions of the United States have undermined the sovereignty of countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen (not to mention all the others around the world). In each case, civilians and armed combatants were killed, with the death toll leaning much further in the direction of civilians, in most cases. This is particularly true in Iraq, where at least 500,000 children were killed by U.S. sanctions alone. Is it really any great shock that America would eventually pay the price for its government’s actions? Too many see 9/11 as the genesis of this conflict, when it is, in fact, only a more recent chapter of a story written in the blood of the innocent and guilty alike. Our continued presence in the Middle East does nothing to improve our safety, here at home. It only foments more aggression and emboldens the already prevalent demonization of western culture.
    Had we followed the advice of the founders, as Congressman Paul suggests, and not entangled ourselves in the affairs of Saudi Arabia and the like, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened. As for his supporting the invasion of Afghanistan, I will not claim to know his exact motivation, but my understanding is this: At the time, at least, he viewed the Afghani government’s refusal to turn over those responsible for the attacks as collaboration with the terrorists, and, therefore, believed we had no option but to invade. This invasion would not have been an exercise in imperialism. We simply would have gone in, crushed them, and come home. No nation building.

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  11. As for your comments on Lincoln: considering that I also “run in” some of the same paleoconservative/libertarian circles as Ron Paul, I can, personally, attest to the absurdity of your claim that we all “see Lincoln’s waging of the Civil War as the beginning of big government in America.” Big government began its growth much, much earlier than that, and I have yet to meet anyone in our “circles” who would claim otherwise. So please, try to refrain from making such generalizations. By the way, Abraham Lincoln was a mentally disturbed racist, and a perfect example of a statist. Lincoln’s method of governance was not only immoral, but also illegal, and completely antithetical to a free society.


    As for your comment on earmarking: Earmarks shouldn’t even be an issue for debate. First of all, they only make about 2% of the federal budget. Secondly, they have absolutely nothing to do with the overall size of the budget. Each year, congress sets a budget (or at least it’s supposed to). Whatever money isn’t appropriated or earmarked will be spent, regardless. If the congress doesn’t spend the money, it is available for the executive branch to spend, which is made up, almost entirely, of unelected officials, and oversight is lost.

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  12. As for your comments on Dr. Paul’s views of the Ground Zero Mosque:

    “The congressman blasted critics as enemies of freedom, dismissing their acknowledgment of the legal right to build the mosque as ‘lip service given to the property rights position.’”

    Congressman Paul is absolutely correct. To acknowledge that a person has a right to do something and then seek to keep them from it with no legitimate reason, is to directly oppose freedom. You might say that they have legitimate reason, that reason being that the building of the cultural center is “insensitive.” I would disagree with this entirely, as the argument supporting such a claim is based on the same islamophobia related to your myopic view of foreign policy, which I have already addressed.

    “In Ron Paul’s world, the right to do something also includes the right to never be criticized for it.”
    This has got to be the most ridiculous statement you’ve made, yet. My understanding of “Ron Paul’s world” is that you absolutely do have the right to criticize someone for his or her actions, and that right must be defended. But you should be careful not to confuse criticism with actions that infringe on the rights of another. To use your example: If a member of the KKK moves in next to you, and you don’t like this, you have every right to not like it and to tell your friends or anyone else who is willing to listen, for that matter, how you feel about it. But you do not have the right to remove that person from their new home that they acquired through legal means.

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  13. As for Dr. Paul’s association with extremists: When a politician chooses to champion a cause so reviled by his or her colleagues as the restoration of a constitutionally limited government, they must take support and form coalitions with whoever is willing to oblige. When a vote is counted, the nature of the voter’s character is not taken into consideration, only that the voter is making a purchase with political currency. So does it really matter if the vote comes from a racial supremacist?
    It would appear that you are attempting to mislead your audience into believing that Ron Paul’s focus in the acquisition of allies rests in those bereft of morality, or even sanity. When in reality, he actually draws support from various groups across the social, economic, and ideological board. But given your brazen misuse of Rockwell’s words, I don’t suspect you care much for honesty.

    As for Israel: “Especially when that nation happens to be a rare ally in a global struggle against an enemy that wants both of us dead.”
    Perhaps the most significant reason America is lacking allies, is that her foreign policy is one of neo-isolationism. Osama Bin Laden’s plan for America was simple: lure us into a war that will bankrupt us and ruin our reputation abroad, and, in doing so, bring more troops to his side. America’s ever tightening grip around the world is forcing our would-be partners in trade to slip through our fingers or avoid us all together. Surely you realize the idiocy of our current relationship with Israel. Every year we give them billions of dollars, while we give her enemies even more, collectively. Can you, honestly, say that makes sense?

    As for Iran: My understanding of his defense of an Iranian nuclear program is as follows: Iran is surrounded by enemies with much greater weaponry than her own. It would be foolish to expect Iran to NOT want nuclear weapons. If it was discovered that Mexico had been developing a nuclear arsenal, would it be wrong for American’s to desire an adequate defense in case those weapons were targeted at us? If we weren’t all over the world, creating motive for attacks against the US, but instead engaging in free trade, the likelihood of ANY country’s nukes being targeted at America would be drastically reduced.

    And, finally, your last point: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must be aware of the massive support base Ron Paul gained in his last presidential run. What do you think would happen if he ran again? And what do you think would happen if the media actually treated him fairly, rather than marginalizing or completely excluding him? If you look at opinion polls, Congressman Paul won many of the presidential debates. Also, Rasmussen conducted a poll, over the summer, that showed Ron Paul receiving 41% of the vote in a 2012 run off, and he lost the SRLC poll by ONE vote. Obviously, only time will tell which of us is right.

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  14. I’m glad to see you’re actually putting effort into your posts for a change, instead of merely wasting my time with inane cheerleading for your hero – too bad the end result is still utter crap.

    Your “blowback” rant doesn’t actually address what I said about the merits of the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars, genius. Michael Scheuer is an anti-Semitic loon who’s so far around the bend that according to him even Obama “is completely owned” by the “war-wanting Israeli theocracy,” so if you guys insist on keeping him as an authority, you’re just shooting yourselves in the foot. And your tirade is full of factual errors and blind embrace of jihadist propaganda (see: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Articles/11Myths.htm)…just like the politician you insist on whoring yourself out to. And as I’ve repeatedly explained, Paul’s insistence that his is the true interpretation of the Founders’ foreign policy is, at the very, very best, speculative.

    On Lincoln, I never said that all libertarians have a garbage understanding of the Civil War – but Paul certainly does, and so do most of his supporters (including you, apparently). Try getting your history from an actual historian for a change. And inasmuch as you apparently can’t be bothered to check out the links in my work that support and elaborate on my positions, reposting a couple of them here for the less-insane readers will suffice as a response:

    http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/war-peace/5100-Ron-Paul-Abraham-Lincoln-and-the-Necessity-the-Civil-War.html

    http://rightcal.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/lincoln-derangement-syndrome/

    I agree that earmarks aren’t the biggest deal in the grand scheme of things, but remind me: where is earmarking among Congress’ enumerated powers? I thought Paul was the nation’s last remaining champion of the Constitution! (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/253028/earmark-myths-and-realities-sen-tom-coburn#)

    As I explained at the time, Paul was misrepresenting what Ground Zero Mosque critics were saying, and ignoring the evidence of the radicalism behind the Cordoba project (not “Islamophobia,” as you demagogically claim) – and so are you. (http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/08/26/ron-paul-rides-to-the-rescue-in-defense-of-911-mosque/)

    So what you’re saying is that the ends justify the means, that Ron Paul has no choice but to exploit and legitimize bigotry and conspiracism, and that his motives can’t possibly have anything to do with the possibility that he might simply be a good old-fashioned demagogue. You are one sick puppy. For all that Paul brags he’s a fan of the Founders he apparently disagrees with George Washington that “’tis better to be alone than in bad company.”

    Just like every other two-bit Paul punk who’s stepped up to the plate on the question of Israel, you’re deliberately avoiding my point: there is a difference between advocating neutrality toward Israel and TELLING LIES ABOUT HER. But then, given your candidate, we already know where you stand on lying.

    And on Iran: thank you for doing two things: a.) ignoring the fact that Paul lies about Iran, too (http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/05/11/nine-out-of-ten-ayatollahs-agree-vote-paul/) and b.) exposing your monumental stupidity and ignorance in speaking as if the powers that be in the Iranian dictatorship are no different than Mexico. It’s clear that you know next to nothing about Iran, al-Qaeda, radical Islam, or any of the related issues that anyone would need to be familiar with to have a rudimentary understanding of foreign policy. I thank God there aren’t more of you, because your ignorant, hero-worshipping votes would get people killed.

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  15. I’m glad to see you’re actually putting effort into your posts for a change, instead of merely wasting my time with inane cheerleading for your hero – too bad the end result is still utter crap.

    Your “blowback” rant doesn’t actually address what I said about the merits of the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars, genius. Michael Scheuer is an anti-Semitic loon who’s so far around the bend that according to him even Obama “is completely owned” by the “war-wanting Israeli theocracy,” so if you guys insist on keeping him as an authority, you’re just shooting yourselves in the foot. And your tirade is full of factual errors and blind embrace of jihadist propaganda (see: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Articles/11Myths.htm)…just like the politician you insist on whoring yourself out to. And as I’ve repeatedly explained, Paul’s insistence that his is the true interpretation of the Founders’ foreign policy is, at the very, very best, speculative.

    On Lincoln, I never said that all libertarians have a garbage understanding of the Civil War – but Paul certainly does, and so do most of his supporters (including you, apparently). Try getting your history from an actual historian for a change. And inasmuch as you apparently can’t be bothered to check out the links in my work that support and elaborate on my positions, reposting a couple of them here for the less-insane readers will suffice as a response:

    http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/war-peace/5100-Ron-Paul-Abraham-Lincoln-and-the-Necessity-the-Civil-War.html

    http://rightcal.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/lincoln-derangement-syndrome/

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  16. I agree that earmarks aren’t the biggest deal in the grand scheme of things, but remind me: where is earmarking among Congress’ enumerated powers? I thought Paul was the nation’s last remaining champion of the Constitution! (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/253028/earmark-myths-and-realities-sen-tom-coburn#)

    As I explained at the time, Paul was misrepresenting what Ground Zero Mosque critics were saying, and ignoring the evidence of the radicalism behind the Cordoba project (not “Islamophobia,” as you demagogically claim) – and so are you. (http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/08/26/ron-paul-rides-to-the-rescue-in-defense-of-911-mosque/)

    So what you’re saying is that the ends justify the means, that Ron Paul has no choice but to exploit and legitimize bigotry and conspiracism, and that his motives can’t possibly have anything to do with the possibility that he might simply be a good old-fashioned demagogue. You are one sick puppy. For all that Paul brags he’s a fan of the Founders he apparently disagrees with George Washington that “’tis better to be alone than in bad company.”

    Just like every other two-bit Paul punk who’s stepped up to the plate on the question of Israel, you’re deliberately avoiding my point: there is a difference between advocating neutrality toward Israel and TELLING LIES ABOUT HER. But then, given your candidate, we already know where you stand on lying.

    And on Iran: thank you for doing two things: a.) ignoring the fact that Paul lies about Iran, too (http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/05/11/nine-out-of-ten-ayatollahs-agree-vote-paul/) and b.) exposing your monumental stupidity and ignorance in speaking as if the powers that be in the Iranian dictatorship are no different than Mexico. It’s clear that you know next to nothing about Iran, al-Qaeda, radical Islam, or any of the related issues that anyone would need to be familiar with to have a rudimentary understanding of foreign policy. I thank God there aren’t more of you, because your ignorant, hero-worshipping votes would get people killed.

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  17. I agree that earmarks aren’t the biggest deal in the grand scheme of things, but remind me: where is earmarking among Congress’ enumerated powers? I thought Paul was the nation’s last remaining champion of the Constitution! (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/253028/earmark-myths-and-realities-sen-tom-coburn#)

    As I explained at the time, Paul was misrepresenting what Ground Zero Mosque critics were saying, and ignoring the evidence of the radicalism behind the Cordoba project (not “Islamophobia,” as you demagogically claim) – and so are you. (http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/08/26/ron-paul-rides-to-the-rescue-in-defense-of-911-mosque/)

    So what you’re saying is that the ends justify the means, that Ron Paul has no choice but to exploit and legitimize bigotry and conspiracism, and that his motives can’t possibly have anything to do with the possibility that he might simply be a good old-fashioned demagogue. You are one sick puppy. For all that Paul brags he’s a fan of the Founders he apparently disagrees with George Washington that “’tis better to be alone than in bad company.”

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  18. Just like every other two-bit Paul punk who’s stepped up to the plate on the question of Israel, you’re deliberately avoiding my point: there is a difference between advocating neutrality toward Israel and TELLING LIES ABOUT HER. But then, given your candidate, we already know where you stand on lying.

    And on Iran: thank you for doing two things: a.) ignoring the fact that Paul lies about Iran, too (http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/05/11/nine-out-of-ten-ayatollahs-agree-vote-paul/) and b.) exposing your monumental stupidity and ignorance in speaking as if the powers that be in the Iranian dictatorship are no different than Mexico. It’s clear that you know next to nothing about Iran, al-Qaeda, radical Islam, or any of the related issues that anyone would need to be familiar with to have a rudimentary understanding of foreign policy. I thank God there aren’t more of you, because your ignorant, hero-worshipping votes would get people killed.

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  19. All your response has done is prove that you are nothing more than an angry and horribly brainwashed blogger who makes false accusations and assumptions of anyone who would dare to question your indoctrination.
    Good luck, Cal.

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  20. I'm tempted to give you a lecture about how the fact that your responses have been so terribly lacking ought to make you do some serious self-reflection as you ponder just what power Ron Paul has over you that you'll stubbornly, angrily cling to him despite your inability to substantively justify your support for him on moral or intellectual grounds.

    But we both know that would be a waste of time. Whether your political disposition matures in the years to come is up to you. Goodbye.

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