Is America’s house divided again?

Dr. L. John Van Til's picture

Having just viewed Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” and having observed Lincoln’s birthday, it seemed fitting to ponder one of Lincoln’s most famous speeches, and perhaps a lesson for Americans today.

On June 17, 1858 — less than three years before the Civil War — Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” address while being nominated to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois.

Lincoln told his friends, who objected to that phrase, that he chose it because it was a biblical idea familiar to the American public. Lincoln quoted Jesus Christ: “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mark 3:25).

Lincoln went on to say, “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all of the other.”

At the time of the speech, Lincoln had already been intimately involved in national debates about the nature of the Union for more than a decade. He was prescient about many things, including the coming of war.

How did the Civil War come about and how did Lincoln understand it? What was the basis of this struggle that divided the nation? What prompted Lincoln to speak of a “house divided?”

The Founders had not settled the questions of black slavery and of sovereignty — both at the state and national levels. They did not because these issues were intimately tied together and at the heart of how the nation defined itself.

As for sovereignty, each state had claimed it fully under the Articles of Confederation. That document did not work well, so a convention was called to create a wholly new document — the federal Constitution of 1789.

But, the new Constitution did not deal directly with the questions of slavery and sovereignty either. The Founders, and their successors for several generations, were content to deal with these issues by a series of compromises. As we say today, they “kicked the can down the road.”

Typically, these compromises were like “The Compromise of 1820,” whose principle feature was to admit two new states at the same time — one with and one without slavery. Many, like Lincoln, had no difficulty with this practice because they believed that slavery as an economic system was failing and would die out in the face of the growing industrial revolution.

By 1850 the compromise system was breaking down as many Southern leaders began to vigorously advance the doctrine of the supremacy of state sovereignty. Moreover, the difference between an emerging industrial North and a continuing cotton-based, agrarian South revealed that the North and the South had different visions of what the nation ought to be. Lincoln understood this and spoke about it often.

The election of 1860 was crucial in deciding whether the house divided would stand or fall. Republican Lincoln was one of four presidential candidates in that election. He won. Southern states seceded. The war came. The primary issue was not slavery, but, as Lincoln said, the preservation of the Union. The Union won, and the house was no longer divided, or so it seemed.

During the war, and after, congressional statutes, constitutional amendments, and a reconstruction program abolished slavery and defined national sovereignty, all through the exercise of unprecedented federal power.

This is a very important point. Reconstruction ended in 1877, and national leaders turned their attention to the settlement of the West and a rapidly expanding industrialism. It took a long time — decades — but that expansive federal power used to end the Civil War continued to grow and eventually became an important political issue, even a defining one.

Historians routinely point out that the two World Wars, the New Deal, Square Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society all steadily expanded federal power. More recently, President Obama and his supporters have sought to dramatically increase federal power to achieve their new vision for America.

It seems to some that Obama’s agenda includes a use of power that echoes European-style socialist states. But, there is one huge difference: The American system grants considerable power to the president — which Obama’s followers seem eager to use, or threaten to use.

Perceptive observers see that the Founders’ view conflicts with Obama’s. Recent political gridlock in Congress and in the states is evidence of this fundamental division.

This division has not yet reached crisis proportions, but it may not be far away. There are murmurings in some states to secede in the face of massive and growing federal power. Moreover, it is possible that the federal government may spend itself into oblivion.

If Lincoln were with us today, he might ask: “Is America’s house divided again?” He might suggest, too, that it cannot stand unless the conflicting visions are resolved, one way or another.

[Dr. L. John Van Til is a fellow for humanities, faith, and culture with The Center for Vision & Values (www.VisionAndValues.org) at Grove City (Penn.) College.] © 2013 by The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

Davids mom
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Crap - weasel

Interesting identifying term.

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PTCO

On this then, we are in complete agreement. I just am concerned about your Libertarian ideas - and how it will benefit todays conflicted society - regardless of 'government'. As you support your Libertarian ideas, just think how they would affect those Americans who are still considered 'minority'.

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DM - It

It is not what happens to us in life that matters DM, the only thing that matters is how we react to it.

Institutionalized "victims" are never dignified or engender respect DM.

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Reaction - PTCO

I chose to 'react' to what happened to me and mine with non-violence and 'love'. How about your reaction to life's events?

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PTCO - thanks for at least trying to get the truth. (2)

Interesting. What is your definition of 'institutionalized racism"? And who are the victims of institutionalized racism in these United States?

S. Lindsey
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I'll answer yours if you answer mine...

... Do you have any White Friends?

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SL

Friends and relatives. Now can you answer my question?

S. Lindsey
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Why is it important?

I could tell you the truth or I could lie.. Would you believe me and could you tell the difference.

Philosophical questions that neither further the debate nor answer questions issued is superfluous at best.

btw- have you got that list of Democrats that switched parties yet?

How about that list of Racist things I have said...

Been waiting on those two for years... so my questions supersedes yours.

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SL

It's your 'lack of acknowledging successful integration' that speaks loud and clear in this discussion. Enough has been stated. For your comfort - you are always 100% correct. My friends and relatives will continue to enjoy life here in Fayette County.

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DM I don't need to answer in affirmation

of facts already long in print.

The fact that you asked the question was an attempt to cast aspersions... just as was my "Do you have any White friends". People that use race as a wedge issue and using the charge of racism to stifle discussion are easily recognized for what they are..

We pegged you a long time ago.

You Dm are the problem.. and until the old dinosaurs like you die out racial equality will never be obtained. Once young Black males can see they can make it on their own without blaming someone else for failures then and only then will we all be equal. As long as the dinos like you however push issues of 60+ years ago as if they are occurring today then the Black Community will always use the excuse that it's whitey's fault.

Just ask Sharpton, Jackson, crazy Louie or DM.

Davids mom wrote:

America is a Racist Country

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SL/BLIND
Quote:

Once young Black males can see they can make it on their own without blaming someone else for failures then and only then will we all be equal

PRESIDENT OBAMA. You're a little behind times. The young and middle age black male is doing ok - in spite of you. Not all black males are 'lost' - and not all white males are killing children in schools and theaters. SL - you are supreme, marvelous, intelligent, and compassionate. What more could any American want? Why aren't you in the White House?

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Interesting

A book that many are reading:

Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New Attack on Civil Rights, by Jessie Daniels

The narrative and strategies used by Lindsey and Kawfi are well documented in this book. Their comments and approach to history are really not very original.

As history is correctly taught and digested using facts - there is much reason to celebrate the progress made in this country through non-violent change. It is interesting when these two just can't bring themselves to celebrate this.

As far as PTCO'S contribution, it is so very close to the communist doctrine - and the constant cry that democracy will not work - one wonders why one would stay in a country under a government that they feel cannot change and is so detrimental to it's citizens..

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Dm on History
Davids mom wrote:

Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New Attack on Civil Rights, by Jessie Daniels

The narrative and strategies used by Lindsey and Kawfi are well documented in this book. Their comments and approach to history are really not very original.

DM there are all kinds of History being both taught and talked about. Some are fairly accurate some are completely inaccurate. Your Dixiecrat statements are a good example of this.

Davids mom wrote:

Let's tell the whole story. When a Democratic president from Texas signed the Civil Rights / Voting Rights Bill - the Democrats of the south (Dixiecrats) became the Republicans of the solid south.

Davids mom wrote:

Some southern Republicans have tried to re-write history in a lame attempt to try to rid themselves of their racist, segregationist past as Dixie-crats Hi stupid!!

Davids mom wrote:

Are the current Republicans (southern) still trying to go with the LIE of being proud of Lincoln's accomplishments regarding ending slavery?

Davids mom wrote:

History tells us that the Jim Crow laws were instituted in the south by DIxie-crats - who separated themselves from the Democratic Party in the 1960's

These are just a few examples in the last few months... The Dixiecrat History that you state and quote often is false. It is a Myth a Urban Legend used by race hustlers to excuse their tolerance of their support of a then RACIST Democrat Party. Those people sold out their principles for the promise of benefits from Government and propagandist like yourself is used to keep selling the lie.

All you have to do to prove me wrong is give me ONE JUST ONE Democrat that voted against the 64 CRA that switched parties like you state they did. Find me DM just one name that you can point to that is in the record voting against the 64 CRA and then in the 1960's AS YOU STATE separated themselves from the Democrat party by switching parties.

You cannot because it did not happen. It is not Racist Cyber or otherwise to point out that you are factually wrong and as of yet you have not put forth in the years of this same old argument ONE name.

Davids mom wrote:

As history is correctly taught and digested using facts - there is much reason to celebrate the progress made in this country through non-violent change. It is interesting when these two just can't bring themselves to celebrate this.

In this you are correct IF History is taught using facts and not myths and half-truths. Because that is NOT History DM that is a LIE. Case in point the first Slave Owner in America was Anthony Johnson a BLACK Tobacco farmer. He held 5 slaves. Is that taught in your History books DM...No and why not? It's factual.. it provable and it is correct History but why is it it cannot not be found in any History books taught in Schools?
Because it doesn't fit the agenda of White guilt. So if History is revised to fit a certain point of view DM is that really History?

Davids mom wrote:

As far as PTCO'S contribution, it is so very close to the communist doctrine - and the constant cry that democracy will not work - one wonders why one would stay in a country under a government that they feel cannot change and is so detrimental to it's citizens..

I don't need to argue for PTCO he can hold his own. He tends to argue reasonably and with thought.
For you to try to equate those thoughts that right now, our Government is not working, to Communism just goes to show how far you will go to smear your detractors with ad hominem attacks in some lame attempt to dismiss the fact that you cannot prove your arguments and in fact are just what I said you are a Propagandist and a bigot.

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LOL - SL
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Is that taught in your History books DM.

As a matter of fact SL - YES - that was taught in 'my history books' evidently not yours!!! I was not allowed to be satisfied with 'publishers' of textbooks that were designed for 'the south'. From 1951-1957 I was in Jr. High and Sr. High School - and perceived 'history' of that period with my own eyes. What I saw on TV was horrible from my point of view; what I experienced in Nashville, Tennesee in 1958 was frightening. (Sit-in's) What I lived in California instilled in me that not all 'white' people were racists or segregationists. What has been your experience?

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Sorry that fact DOES NOT reside in any textbook

taught in Schools for the last 40 years... It is only recently being found in a few in Texas.

Neither here in the South which you obviously dislike not in California either..Please provide the link to the textbook online so we can see it...

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Dm how can simply correcting your false information..

..in your mind be racist?

Your constant not so subtle innuendos aside.. SHOW ME ONE THING I HAVE SAID THAT IS RACIST.. ONE THING DM.

Just because I disagree with you...is NOT racist.

Just because you cannot argue your own points..is NOT racist.

Just because I challenge you on your statements..is NOT racist.

DM you can continue to try to brand me a racist but let's face it, the only one on here that is constantly trying to stifle free expression of opinion is YOU.

By throwing out the race card when you cannot argue or prove your own statements you are trying to shut down opinions that differ from yours.

Dm that is called being a bigot.

big·ot [ bíggət ]
intolerant person: somebody with strong opinions, especially on politics, religion, or ethnicity, who refuses to accept different views

That's you.

S. Lindsey
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Hey PTCO did you know you're a Communist? Dm says so...

...so it must be true.. Comrade.

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Comrade Lindsey

When I referred to spin in the post above, I was referring to the fact that DM will not stay on subject, which is not her aim. She also puts words in one's mouth and when everything else fails, she always reverts to the race card. To call someone racist is the ultimate equalizer in any debate. It doesn't matter whether she actually knows your race, that's immaterial. The mere threat of casting someone as a racist in our society brings with it suspension, hate and retribution. Its mere suggestion destroys people's reputations and that's the hammer of suppression. She is well aware of this fact and likely makes a pretty good living at it, as has Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson.

However, someone that makes a living off their color in the name of "justice"? What would be the proper adjective to describe them? Could it possibly be a "racist"? A bigot? A racial entrepreneur? Whatever it is, it is both divisive and disturbing. Having a egalitarian view of the world must by its nature drive wedges between people and never has a good outcome.

Using the "racist" moniker as a way to bully people into silence, it’s the same general practice the Nazis used in silencing and exterminating the Jews of Europe. I suppose the only thing left to do to make people more compliant would have them wear a yellow "R" on their lapel. Of course it would be people like DM that would decide on who should wear them. She certainly loves to do this in her posts here and this despicable behavior must permeate her life. She is judge, jury and executioner in her own mind, an all knowing god like creature steeped in her own vast experience of the racial divide. How can she stand the burden of such a load? God only knows.

As to the suggestion of neighborhood representation, to which I believe she must be referring, sarcasm seems to be well above her god like head. The illustration was merely to point out the end game of democracy. That would indeed be block organizations for which the Communists are well known, complete with their child informants on adults that don't have the "correct" thinking. The Nazis did hate the Communists so, but being a socialist organization they did like block organizations. You know the forerunner of "community organizing".

If DM really wanted to know why I am so against the idea of democracy and egalitarian societies, she merely needs to ask. She need not speculate or call out labels and use dispersion, however this would not meet her ends of suppression. Unfortunately, for our country, there are many, many just like her using the racial wedge to separate people, but all the while suggesting that is someone else that divides us.

That dear comrade, is the truth.

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PTCO - thanks for at least trying to get the truth.

Nice try - but your diatribe will not silence me. In communities like Peachtree City and Fayetteville where organizations and neighborhoods have exemplified how Americans of different colors can live together; work together; pray together - who is driving the wedge here? Over the past 9 years, I have seen improvement in the reporting of The Citizen in regards to identifying suspects - using race when it is necessary for assistance in capturing a suspect. I have been impressed with the natural integration in schools that represent the communities that they serve. I was not amazed at the rejection by the community when some evil-thinking adults tried to start a 'race' problem between students. The students immediately saw through this, correctly identified the protaganists - and advised them that this was seen as a failed attempt to create disharmony on two campuses in the area. I have not called you a 'racist' - but, as you have stated, I see you as someone who against democracy and equality as practiced in these United States. You said:

Quote:

I am so against the idea of democracy and egalitarian societies, she merely needs to ask

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Comrade PTCO

Well said.

DM, like many others just like her, use Race as a wedge issue and a form of gag to attempt to suppress the free flow of information and freedom of expression.

We need Racist to speak out.. We need to identify them, isolate them, and then hammer them with logic and reason...not gag them.

Conversely we need Bigots and Race Hustlers to speak out for the same reasons. We need more speech not less, unfortunately many try to stifle speech because they disagree with them and will use whatever means necessary to do so.

DM is one such person. Whenever she get's backed into a corner she either goes kumbaya or the claws come out one or the other.

She is not stupid...far from it... she is however a bigot and cannot stand someone giving a different point of view.

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The essay writers - PTCO/SL

Nice essays. You have both been so accepting of my 'different point of view' - that it has been quite enlightening. I don't need to 'factualize' my point of view - since most of the history that I have shared, I have lived (and experienced from my point of view). I am not alone. I have acknowledged your point SL that I was incorrect in the actual timing of the transition of the political parties of the south. For you to deny what is so obvious - the south is RED - is interesting. If you will go back and read - I shared my opinion that the 'conservative' view point on many issues is not racist/especially economics - and in the past there were conservative points of views and progressive points of view on many issues in both parties. It has been difficult for 'blacks' to accept the change in the 'party of Lincoln'. My mother's generation was very supportive of the Republican Party. Mr. Atwater in the '80's changed that. As long as SL and Kawfi ,expound their theories of minorities, I will be right there to express my point of view.

Quote:

big·ot [big-uht] Show IPA
noun
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

I don't think I fit this description - but you are entitled to your opinion.

SL - I comfortably identify you as a practicing racist. Obviously we have the same opinion of one another. Too bad you can't celebrate the progress that has been made in this country in 'race relations'. . .especially in two cities that could easily be considered role models of the 'new' south.

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If the shoe fits...DM

... and this shoe was made for you..

big·ot [ bíggət ]
intolerant person: somebody with strong opinions, especially on politics, religion, or ethnicity, who refuses to accept different views..

This is why you try to shutdown conversation by attacking PTCO, Joe, myself and others by hurling the Racist charge. Because that is all it is used for. You don't know me... you don't know what is in my heart.

I have challenged you over and over and over to name just one thing I have said that you consider racist and you can't do it.

So the only real reason you throw down the card is to either shut me up and if that fails to try to cast aspersion upon my character in the hopes that others will dismiss what I say.

Wear that Brown shirt proudly DM after all it was a Progressive that taught Goebbels how to use propaganda.

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SL

DO YOU COMPREHEND ENGLISH? (Yes, I'm yelling) I have stated that I consider you a bigoted racist - as you consider me one. I don't know you - or anyone like you. (Thank heavens) Nothing that you have written here makes me feel that you are interested in bringing diverse Americans together in one united country. Your pathetic interest here is to prove to your friends (full of testosterone) how much of a man you are - and how smart you are. Come on SL - you've accomplished your goal. Congratulations. (By the way - at least be original in your answers. Your answers are all over the Cyber space!) Your racist and unyielding attempt to deny that there may be others who have a different point of view has been interesting - but now is boring. You and yours are in the minority in this country and in this county. Americans are moving on - without the banner of 'white supremacy'. There are many different interpretations to our history - but a true history has to include all Americans - not just those with European heritage. We're getting there!!

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Dm...

I can prove you are a bigot... can you prove that I am a Racist?

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SL PROOF

You know what SL - no one here cares. So you can go on with your life, accept this and be done with it: David's Mom is a black woman who is a racistt, bigot, hates whites, and has no white friends. (So says SL) And David's Mom identifies him (SL) as an out of the closet white supremacist who just can't get it that there are 'blacks' in this country who have worked hard, achieved much, and are contributing Americans - why one is actually POTUS! God bless him!

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Dm why all the caps...

...don't like it much when people peg you?

Dm.. You forget that it is always YOU that claim we are the racist. You never present proof of our racism you just lay the charge.

Where did I say you have no white friends?

Where did I say you hate whites?

I did say you are a bigot and a proven one at that.

Dm it might behoove you if you want a open and honest discussion about race or, well anything really, you might remember just because the other debater is disagreeing with you it's not personal it certainly isn't racist. It is just you have different life experiences and belief systems.

If you can't argue your points and prove your own statements leveling the charge of racism is a poor attempt to justify your own actions.

If you tell a untruth or misstate a fact DM expect to be called on it.. I would expect no less. If I can't prove my statement then the last thing I would do is call you names and attempt to shut you up...so why do it do it to the rest of us?

DM the only person here on this blog that has a problem is you. You really need to look inward and see where your bitterness lives. Only then can you put the past behind you and move forward then you might actually do some good for your community instead of hindering it.

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MY COMMUNITY - SL

Is the American community. Are you a part of that community? The 'we' in my discussions are Americans who live in Fayetteville and Peachtree City and most of our country peacefully - in spite of the violence of the Civil Rights movement in the late '50's and early 60's. You have the problem acknowledging this. I'm not bitter - but rejoice that my mother and other members of my family are/were able to return to Georgia and live for an appreciable amount of time in peace and harmony with all citizens that we encountered. You, and your attitude stand out as what I had expected - but was pleasantly surprised at not encountering anyone in person who displayed your ignorance and bias. Calling me a racist has made you feel powerful and 'supreme' - but hasn't changed my appreciation for the citizens of Fayette County. (Oh - I will still be here - but just not responding directly to you.) Now I'll grow up - and you will have the last word.
Bye!

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Wow Ok I admit it I am wrong...
Davids mom wrote:

Calling me a racist has made you feel powerful and 'supreme' - but hasn't changed my appreciation for the citizens of Fayette County. (Oh - I will still be here - but just not responding directly to you.) Now I'll grow up - and you will have the last word.
Bye!

You not just a bigot you are nuts too.. How many times have I called you a racist and how many times have you called me one? Wow Memory really is the first thing that goes with age.

Who knew?

Oh and btw-What was that stated purpose of yours for being on here? Oh right to bring "race to the front of every discussion and advance your community" your words Dm was that the American community you were speaking of?

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Factualize
Davids mom wrote:

I don't need to 'factualize' my point of view -

Factualize: (\ˈfak-ch(ə-w)ə-ˌlīz) A term used by lying bedwetting liberals (usually former government educators) to justify their twisted view of American history to fit their far left wing agenda of painting all Republicans and Conservatives as racists.

There is no such word as 'factualize', but what do you expect from a gubbermint edumicator?

Got it PTCO and Lindsey? We can make up crap and it doesn't have to even be true as long as it fits our own narrative. It's what all the bedwetters are doing now. Heck, obama promised that we could keep our doctors and that the price of healthcare would be reduced! He doesn't have to 'factualize' it as long as it will get the moochers in society to vote for him!

No new taxes? Heck, hard working Americans just took a tax hike and now this moron 'president' wants to raise 'em some more. No need to factualize it. Shovel ready jobs? Factualize this- The only thing shovel ready is the words proceeding out of barry obama's mouth.
'Factualize' that, DM.

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Fact!

Good for you - you know how to use the dictionary. Great!! I'm sure your English teachers would be proud. As far as your use of 'taxes' - still following Atwaters strategy I see. Kawfi - it's 2013! What worked in the '80's just doesn't cut it anymore. Take a look around Fayetteville and Peachtree City. People who obviously have a different heritage than Europeans are getting along just fine with other Americans with a different gene pool. Yes - Obama did not come in with magic and cure all of the ills of past administrations. The corportate giants - who could hold off until Romney won - were surprised - and couldn't hold off any longer. Americans, working together, will survive this economic crisis - only our enemies want to see us divided along the lines of race - our vulnerable spot.
If you'd like to discuss Obamacare and the cost of hospitalization in our country - fine. But your discussion of race is based on your bias and experience - as is mine. Enough.

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