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A student of uncommon courage

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It is true, your claim is despicable, and I am not the one who brought it up.

1. You're anonymous. We have no idea who you are, whether you were in the class where you now claim this happened, or whether you have any real information at all. We know nothing about you or where you're claiming to get this information. You hide behind your anonymity to accuse another. So it is without foundation, and that makes your parading it here despicable. Until such time as you come forward with your full name so that you can be identified, and state the basis of your claim, it's called bearing false witness. It's also called cowardice. That's why people accused are entitled to be confronted with their accusers. It's also why responsible journalists don't print accusations without identifying their sources and verifying their information.

Because I can.

2. You're offering this "information" nearly a year after the Paszkiewicz story broke. If it was true, it would have come out a long time ago.

This has nothing to do with Paszkiewicz. Why do you keep bringing up his name?

3. At best, even if it was true, it's supremely petty. Tapping his fingers and humming. What are you going to accuse him of next, breathing?

Petty, maybe, but you were the that implied Matt was not disturbing anyone while the pledge is recited. At least one time he did and was spoken to.

When will you people stop? If you want to do something productive, get hold of the kids in town who are drinking too much or doing drugs. Or get involved to research the issue being raised about the level of taxes in town. You're after Matthew because you don't agree with him, and that's despicable too. Disagree with him, but keep your criticisms on point.

Critisism was on point. You were the one that started in this direction.

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You're wrong. I'll explain it to you again.

In World War II, nearly every American sacrificed for the war effort. That was real patriotism. People went without, bought war bonds, and men of suitable age signed up to fight the war.

Today, we are said to be at war, but in fact only our troops are at war. As Bill Maher put it, we're shopping. We're driving around in our gas-guzzling SUVs with yellow ribbons while our young men and women are fighting and dying in a war for oil. If you don't believe me, read Alan Greenspan's latest book --- the Republican who headed the US monetary system for decades --- he said it's a war for oil, and obviously it is.

Greenspan said that's not what he meant at all (though he's justly blamed for not doing an adequate review of his book if his excuse for letting the phrasing slip is true).

The war in Iraq is about oil to the extent that the entire world economy runs on oil. It's not about getting oil simply on behalf of the United States. We could have done that by buying it through the UN Oil-for-Food program (and that's what we did, in fact). The oil would be cheaper without the war--but we still wouldn't know if Hussein had WMD or not without the war. Unless you've all suddenly come to trust the CIA and UN arms inspectors.

To me, the Pledge of Allegiance is like dessert. We get to reward ourselves for our patriotism after we've demonstrated some patriotism. As a nation, we are not doing the heavy lifting that real patriotism is about. Very few of us read a decent newspaper to familiarize ourselves with political issues, our politics has become a farce, and just a little over half of us bother to vote in presidential elections (forget about "lesser" elections). We're living in a changed country. We've lost the ethic that characterized our country in World War II. JFK's ethic of asking what you can do for your country would be laughed at today, replaced by the ethic of lookin' out for me.

Paul, I think you'd find a completely different attitude from the majority of US soldiers in Iraq, most of whom possess a conservative view of the Iraq war.

The Pledge tells us what good Americans we are. "Look at me, I'm a proud and patriotic American. Look at me, standing and reciting the Pledge. Aren't I wonderful!"

Though perhaps they could look even more wonderful by refusing to say the pledge ...

That type of accusation can be made about anything. As such, it's worthless.

The problem is, we're not acting like good Americans. We're not doing the heavy lifting. We're not thinking about country first. We've lost the art of citizenship. There are many fine citizens in our country, but for many, reciting the Pledge is like eating dessert without eating a decent meal first. We've gotten lazy about our citizenship, and for many people the Pledge is just another excuse for getting away with it. That's the point Matthew was making. He has told you that in a hundred ways by now. Maybe this way you'll understand it, but I doubt it.

Isn't Matthew wonderful? So much better than those pledge-saying hypocrites ...

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Guest Paul
In World War II, almost everyone had a direct interest in that war in that so many of them had previously come from one of those European countries in danger and many others with relatives still there. The same cannot be said today, except for the few now coming over for the Mid East. Everyone knows you are a bleeding Democrat and have tried to make this forum your political campaign, but there have been true acts of patriotism after WW II, even in the Korean and Vietnam wars and both those were also about oil as well. 

And if for you, Paul LaClair, the Pledge of Allegiance is like dessert, I can only wonder what you have for dinner?  There are many hard working Americans who have worked and fought for the good of this country.  It is people like your son why America has lost its ethics in the eyes of the rest of the world.  Ask yourself this: “What have you done for your country?”  I am sure the honest answer wouldn’t surprise most of us.  When I do say the Pledge of Allegiance I do it for my country. I am not trying to be a standout and sit down, or be a showoff, and if meaning that sitting down on Matthew’s lazy ass in your words makes him a better citizen, then you can take that along with your lawyer rhetoric and find some hole to crawl under.  But I am not going to.  So my wish for you, your son and your family that when all American people, standing as one under the American flag, symbolizing one nation, with liberty and justice for all, that those rights do not apply to you, or your son, or family.  After all what would a lawyer like you know about liberty and justice?

Yeah, what would I know. I've been watching Ken Burns' film on World War II, which is on PBS all this week. It reminded me of the film "Saving Private Ryan," especially the scene at the end where Ryan visited his Lieutenant's grave as an old man. Standing there, he flashed back to his mortally wounded Lieutenant saying "Earn this" just before he died.

When he said "Earn this," I don't think he meant stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. I think he meant live a good life, do what's right, give something back to your country.

I don't denigrate reciting the Pledge. Do it if it moves you. I'm just saying that doesn't make you patriotic or of any use to your country.

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Guest Paul
Because I can.

This has nothing to do with Paszkiewicz.  Why do you keep bringing up his name?

Petty, maybe, but you were the that implied Matt was not disturbing anyone while the pledge is recited.  At least one time he did and was spoken to. 

Critisism was on point.  You were the one that started in this direction.

OK, you're going to make unsubstantiated anonymous charges, Mr. Paszkiewicz, here's one right back at you. I keep mentioning you, Mr. Paszkiewicz, because Matthew started taking flak when your story broke open in the news. That's when people started saying things about him. If this was true, Mr. Paszkiewicz, you would have said it a year ago.

Get it now, Mr. Paszkiewicz?

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In World War II, almost everyone had a direct interest in that war in that so many of them had previously come from one of those European countries in danger and many others with relatives still there. The same cannot be said today, except for the few now coming over for the Mid East. Everyone knows you are a bleeding Democrat and have tried to make this forum your political campaign, but there have been true acts of patriotism after WW II, even in the Korean and Vietnam wars and both those were also about oil as well. 

And if for you, Paul LaClair, the Pledge of Allegiance is like dessert, I can only wonder what you have for dinner?  There are many hard working Americans who have worked and fought for the good of this country.  It is people like your son why America has lost its ethics in the eyes of the rest of the world.  Ask yourself this: “What have you done for your country?”  I am sure the honest answer wouldn’t surprise most of us.  When I do say the Pledge of Allegiance I do it for my country. I am not trying to be a standout and sit down, or be a showoff, and if meaning that sitting down on Matthew’s lazy ass in your words makes him a better citizen, then you can take that along with your lawyer rhetoric and find some hole to crawl under.  But I am not going to.  So my wish for you, your son and your family that when all American people, standing as one under the American flag, symbolizing one nation, with liberty and justice for all, that those rights do not apply to you, or your son, or family.  After all what would a lawyer like you know about liberty and justice?

Contemptible. Un-American. Fool.

What the LeClairs have done for our country is to revere and protect its most sacred principles -- those to be found in the Constitution.

How can you have the unmitigated gall to claim that your mindless recitation of 32 words compares to their actions in any way?

Your last two sentences clearly demonstrate that you haven't a clue what it means to be an American.

Leigh Williams

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Guest old & in the way
In World War II, almost everyone had a direct interest in that war in that so many of them had previously come from one of those European countries in danger and many others with relatives still there. The same cannot be said today, except for the few now coming over for the Mid East. Everyone knows you are a bleeding Democrat and have tried to make this forum your political campaign, but there have been true acts of patriotism after WW II, even in the Korean and Vietnam wars and both those were also about oil as well. 

And if for you, Paul LaClair, the Pledge of Allegiance is like dessert, I can only wonder what you have for dinner?  There are many hard working Americans who have worked and fought for the good of this country.  It is people like your son why America has lost its ethics in the eyes of the rest of the world.  Ask yourself this: “What have you done for your country?”  I am sure the honest answer wouldn’t surprise most of us.  When I do say the Pledge of Allegiance I do it for my country. I am not trying to be a standout and sit down, or be a showoff, and if meaning that sitting down on Matthew’s lazy ass in your words makes him a better citizen, then you can take that along with your lawyer rhetoric and find some hole to crawl under.  But I am not going to.  So my wish for you, your son and your family that when all American people, standing as one under the American flag, symbolizing one nation, with liberty and justice for all, that those rights do not apply to you, or your son, or family.  After all what would a lawyer like you know about liberty and justice?

I've been watching this story ever since it hit the news last fall and decided it's time to say something. I served in the marines, retired from a respectable job, raised a family and consider myself a good American citizen.

First, Matthew. He's a true American hero. He is one of those rare indviduals who go against the grain and don't back down. Agree or disagree with him, that's courage. In the 1960s he would have been a dime a dozen, but today he is as rare as hen's teeth. We need people like him to shake us up every so often. So Matthew, if you're reading thsi keep doing what you're doing. Most people may not say anything, but the people who really understand patriotism and citizenship support you and honor you. We know you care about your country. We can see it by what you're doing. Don't let ignorant people stop you from doing what you think is right.

Second, Matt's dad. I don't know whether he's arrogant. Maybe he is. What I know is taht he must really be inside some heads. Both of them are. They questioned people's assumptions, almost forced them to think. But since thinking is the last thing some people are ever giong to do, all they have left is to get mad and call names. Well, all that tells me is taht Matthew and his dad got their message across on some level. Paul, you have a son to be proud of. No doubt you had something to do with it. Keep donig what you're doing.

Now, about Patriot and 2smart4u and Loki and all the "guests" attacking Matthew. You're all cowards, including you, Patriot. Maybe you're who you say you are. On the other hand, you could be a crabby 85 year old woman who has lived off welfare all your life and never set foot outside kearny. We have no way to know. You won't tell us your name. And then you use yoru anonmymity to attack a 17 year old boy. That's cowradice. If you're going to act like that, you have no credibility at all, especially on moral issues. None. Zip. Nada. You may or may not have served in the military, but you're still a coward.

Or the person who claims that Matthew was spoken to about tapping his fingers and humming during the pledge. I don't know whether it's true, but the fact that you're raising it without giving your name and address and without providing any details, including the source of your information makes you not only a coward but a liar. It's wrong to make insinuatinos like that without proof. Paul is right to call it despicable.

I'm writign anonmymuosly too, but then I'm not attacking a 17 year old boy. This kid gets what it means to be an American. It means being free, it means speaking your mind and it means not taking crap. The cowards who keep attacking him wouldn't know patreioism if it hit them in the face. In fact it has. they just don't see it.

Ironically, Matthew became known because he was in a history class. On ponit after point, the people attacking him don't see what history says about them. People like Matthew who go against the grain are always attacked by the least thoughtful people, the people who think they know everything but in fact know nothing. The person who tells people what they don't wish to hear is always caled names, slandered, abused, etc. It's all over your history books. And yet no matter examples there are of this in history, the people who attack thsi boy don't see that they are the unthinking, ignorant mob they would be ashamed of if they read about it in a history book. Well, folks, you'd be reading about yoruselves but you don't see it. History is about other people, right?! You don't want to see it because it applies to you, so you don't.

You say you'll never change your mind and think that's something to be proud of. Of course you'll never change your mind. To change your mind you would have to open it and think, and you're not going to to do that. It's nothing for you to be proud of. It's something to be ashamed of, but you don't have the sense to be ashamed.

When will people actually start learning the lessons of history? That's my questino. Matthew is telling you, teachng you, but you're not listening. If you really paid attention to the news, you would realize that the story ended up being about you, the people who attacked a boy for telling the truth. Keep writing if you want to, but make sure you don't say who you are. If I was embarassing myself the way you are, I wouldn't want anyone to know who I was either.

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1. I'm still not Matthew, idiot.

2. Not only did the LaClair family receive no money in the settlement, but the entire issue would have never even touched the media had Paszkiewicz not preached and lied about his preaching, and had the Board not sat on its hands and hoped it would all just go away despite the month plus it had to do something. It was only after all that that the LaClairs, out of frustration at the inaction, went public with the story.

3. The 'conservative media' had every opportunity to respond to the story, yet I can't seem to find any such outlet that even tried to defend Paszkiewicz. Even a group whose primary objective is to reinstate school-sanctioned prayer won't touch the story. This is obviously because even they realize that Paszkiewicz's actions are indefensible, and only the nuttiest of the nutty are even trying to make Matthew the bad guy.

Your pathetic ad hominem doesn't change reality. I know you wish it did, but it doesn't.

My great grandfather once told me “You might be able to change the color of the zebra, but you cannot change his stripes.” Isn't that right, Matthew? You try to hide your animosity with a different name or color, but we all know it’ you, just as much as someone coming on as a guest. You cannot hide who you really are.

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I did not intend for my last post to seem mean or anything like that. It sounds like you may have that impression. I am sorry if it came out that way. I still am curious as to who told you these rumors.

They are not rumors. Did you or did you not have a discussion with a Principal about how you are to act during the Pledge?

p.s. - tell your Dad I am not Mr. P. If he read the posts, I already told him I hated everything Mr. P. did.

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Yeah, what would I know. I've been watching Ken Burns' film on World War II, which is on PBS all this week. It reminded me of the film "Saving Private Ryan," especially the scene at the end where Ryan visited his Lieutenant's grave as an old man. Standing there, he flashed back to his mortally wounded Lieutenant saying "Earn this" just before he died. 

When he said "Earn this," I don't think he meant stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. I think he meant live a good life, do what's right, give something back to your country.

I don't denigrate reciting the Pledge. Do it if it moves you. I'm just saying that doesn't make you patriotic or of any use to your country.

You can watch it all you want, but you still don't get it. I'll bet you that any one of the people participating in Ken Burn's film would say it's important to stand and say the pledge. We don't all get to participate in history changing events. Saying the pledge is important on many levels. Not the least of which it is a way to say thank you and show respect for people who sacrificed everything for the life we are able to lead. Maybe that is the lesson that Matthew should be trying to teach us.

And BTW, Private Ryan was visiting Captain Miller's grave. See we all make mistakes sometimes.

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OK, you're going to make unsubstantiated anonymous charges, Mr. Paszkiewicz, here's one right back at you. I keep mentioning you, Mr. Paszkiewicz, because Matthew started taking flak when your story broke open in the news. That's when people started saying things about him. If this was true, Mr. Paszkiewicz, you would have said it a year ago.

Get it now, Mr. Paszkiewicz?

Paulie, Paulie, Paulie you see Paszkiewicz behind every bush don't you?

So Sad! Someone is losing it. ^_^

They´re coming to take me away,

Haha, they´re coming to take me away,

Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha,

To the funny farm

Where life is beautiful all the time

And I´ll be happy to see

Those nice young men

In their clean white coats

And they´re coming to take me AWAY,

HA HAAAA

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My great grandfather once told me “You might be able to change the color of the zebra, but you cannot change his stripes.”  Isn't that right, Matthew?  You try to hide your animosity with a different name or color, but we all know it’ you, just as much as someone coming on as a guest. You cannot hide who you really are.

In a desperate attempt to fool oneself into thinking Matthew has less support than he actually does, some people would rather reach so far as to accuse members of the LaClair family of having multiple personalities than accepting the obvious. You are one of those people.

Absolutely pathetic. You ought to be ashamed of your stubborn ignorance instead of parading it around. I've been in contact with few people more foolish than those like you, making these ridiculous accusations.

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We don't all get to participate in history changing events.

I don't think people like you have much to complain about when you throw away opportunities to stand up for the foundations of this country.

Saying the pledge is important on many levels.  Not the least of which it is a way to say thank you and show respect for people who sacrificed everything for the life we are able to lead.

You want to show thanks to those people? You want to respect those sacrifices? Then you should be supporting a teenager with the guts to stand up for the document those troops fight and die to protect! Instead, you have the nerve to speak ill of someone who is defending the very ideals you think chanting a couple dozen words will protect in the least.

Maybe that is the lesson that Matthew should be trying to teach us.

You would do well to learn what Matthew already knows--that true patriotism lies in actions, not empty recitation. You can say the pledge a thousand times in a row, but if someone else speaks out against something unconstitutional, especially when it's an unpopular decision, that person is the patriot, not you.

Anyone can say a bunch of stupid words. That's easy, and that doesn't respect anyone except for others as deluded as you about what patriotism really is.

The fact that you think rote recitation (and especially the denigration of someone who chooses not to to do it) is a way of showing thanks to the people who lived, fought, sacrificed, and died to preserve our freedom, is disturbing. Your attitude spits in the face of those sacrifices.

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Paulie, Paulie, Paulie you see Paszkiewicz behind every bush don't you?

So Sad! Someone is losing it. ^_^

Someone doesn't have the capacity to detect sarcasm.

Care to tell me why you don't make similar comments about the people who, not being sarcastic, mind you, are calling me and random guests Paul, Matthew, Debra (a.k.a. 'Mrs. LaClair')? It's not like I don't know, but I'm curious to hear what excuse you'd make.

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I have never been spoken to by anyone about the need for me to sit quietly during the pledge and not do things like tap my pencil or hum out loud, and certainly not by the principal. It may have been a rumor that you heard, but I never make any noise during the pledge. If I did make disruptive noises during the pledge, then the teacher would have the right to tell me to stop. I am curious to know where you are getting this information, because it is simply not true.

Matthew, Matthew, Matthew.

To engage the unreasonable, is to lose. Restraint in the face of the searing breath of intolerance is the lodestone of success. Life's victory lies in the enlightenment of the single closed mind that may be pried open with the truth, and, with eyes open to the sky, takes its first breath of knowledge as it basks in the sunlight of wisdom.

C'mon kid, if you skin hasn't grown thick enough by now, it never will.

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Paulie, Paulie, Paulie you see Paszkiewicz behind every bush don't you?

So Sad! Someone is losing it. ^_^

They´re coming to take me away,

Haha, they´re coming to take me away,

Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha,

To the funny farm

Where life is beautiful all the time

And I´ll be happy to see

Those nice young men

In their clean white coats

And they´re coming to take me AWAY,

HA HAAAA

Wow. There's 8 seconds of my life I'm not getting back.

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They are not rumors.  Did you or did you not have a discussion with a Principal about how you are to act during the Pledge?

Since you are the one flinging nasty accusations, how about you back it up. There's no reason any sane person would demand he prove his innocence when you've presented not a single piece of evidence, nor identified a single witness, nor revealed how you came by this information, nor even who it is who's doing the accusing.

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In a desperate attempt to fool oneself into thinking Matthew has less support than he actually does, some people would rather reach so far as to accuse members of the LaClair family of having multiple personalities than accepting the obvious. You are one of those people.

Absolutely pathetic. You ought to be ashamed of your stubborn ignorance instead of parading it around. I've been in contact with few people more foolish than those like you, making these ridiculous accusations.

That's right Matthew, your friends are all fools. There is no desparation in my voice, but I believe I do hear one in yours. Keep hanging around the fools Matthew and see how far it will get you.

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You don't know his motives. He knows his motives, and from everything I can see they are exactly what he says they are. Everything he has done is consistent with what he says.

Of course he knows his motives and you do as well. Check some of your earlier posts when you said you "trained" him. Other people in this town raise their children and teach their children and nature their children. Paul trains them. Guess thats how he got them to go on the paper in the first place.

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I did not intend for my last post to seem mean or anything like that. It sounds like you may have that impression. I am sorry if it came out that way. I still am curious as to who told you these rumors.

Did anyone else hear a large "WWWAAAAAAA" at the end of that post ? Guess that took courage for him to admit.

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Yeah, what would I know. I've been watching Ken Burns' film on World War II, which is on PBS all this week. It reminded me of the film "Saving Private Ryan," especially the scene at the end where Ryan visited his Lieutenant's grave as an old man. Standing there, he flashed back to his mortally wounded Lieutenant saying "Earn this" just before he died. 

When he said "Earn this," I don't think he meant stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. I think he meant live a good life, do what's right, give something back to your country.

I don't denigrate reciting the Pledge. Do it if it moves you. I'm just saying that doesn't make you patriotic or of any use to your country.

Saying the Pledge does move me. It moves me every time I see a congregation of people stand as one in honor of this country that has given me and my family so much. I have seen multiple times in multiple instances at games when someone hasn't removed his hat that someone else kindly go over and ask him to remove it. It is about respecting ones rights. The rights that were handed down to people like you and me for which we had to do nothing, but to abide by them. It is not about doing something against all other people for the sake of being seen. In your life, haven't you noticed that most good things are done quietly and without people noticing? What Matthew does as your puppet directly conflicts with that statement.

And "yes" you and your family do denigrate the flag by not giving it the respect that it deserves and the respect of the people of this country who have fought and died for it. If you do not believe me, take a real hard look at the picture of "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima." Tell the three of the six men that died raising the flag at Iwa Jima. Actually tell it to all of them that you are sitting on your fat behind because of them. See what they say. People like that have "earned it", you have not. If you had wanted to do it the right way with wanted to be a public display, then all you had to do was not say the word "God." No one would have known and you would not have to spend days defending your family from the people posting here. But that was not the course you choose. Now you have to live with the consequences.

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In a desperate attempt to fool oneself into thinking Matthew has less support than he actually does, some people would rather reach so far as to accuse members of the LaClair family of having multiple personalities than accepting the obvious. You are one of those people.

Absolutely pathetic. You ought to be ashamed of your stubborn ignorance instead of parading it around. I've been in contact with few people more foolish than those like you, making these ridiculous accusations.

So you are saying that you are in contact with fools. I guess that is where you get these witty posts from. Even you being a member of this blog, know from time to time who is posting without even reading who it is from. It doesn’t take a genius or a fool to figure that out. So keep trying to fool us, Matthew.

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Way to have no damned idea what freedom means or patriotism is. "Recite this with us or you hate America!"

With an attitude like that, what can you claim you served this country (in the military) for? It wasn't to preserve our freedom, as you clearly don't want that.

Newsflash: popular speech and actions don't need protecting. The First Amendment exists to enable and protect precisely the sorts of things like not standing up and chanting with everyone else.

Very creative with the Newsflash. Oh wait now I have to listen to you ! I don't think so. With that quote under your name "A realistic optimist" yet every chance you get you try to degrade what your forefathers have done for you. Your quote like the little diddlies at the bottom of every one of your posts like little oxymorons. or what that ox-Y-moron. More fitting in your case. Thank you Matthew. I can't wait until you come back as Matthew LaClair with your response to this one.

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Matthew, Matthew, Matthew. 

To engage the unreasonable, is to lose.  Restraint in the face of the searing breath of intolerance is the lodestone of success.  Life's victory lies in the enlightenment of the single closed mind that may be pried open with the truth, and, with eyes open to the sky, takes its first breath of knowledge as it basks in the sunlight of wisdom.

C'mon kid, if you skin hasn't grown thick enough by now, it never will.

This is beautiful. Did you write it? Seriously, if you did I'd like to know if you have published writings. If you didn't write it, I'd like to know who did.

It's also true most of the time. Maybe my only reservation is, what if the unreasonable is most of your community. Sometimes changing one mind isn't enough. Maybe sometimes the best thing to do is speak to people in the only language they understand, even if it makes you itch.

As to Matthew, he's kinda young to be told his maturing is over, don't you think?

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