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The Fight to Rename a School: Pushing Further




*Based on My Words/Speech at the February 13, 2018 Denton (TX) Independent School District School Board Meeting


Immigrants are of the lowest of classes.


Blacks should be banned from public facilities.


I’m simply not interested in racial equality.


I hope that you are as disgusted by these words as I am.


These are the words or paraphrases of the words of Woodrow Wilson.


Two of my children attend Woodrow Wilson Elementary.


As young as they are, even they ask the question, “Why do we have to go to a school named after a racist?”


While know that you recently voted to spend over $150,000 to change the names of schools named after confederate luminaries, I want to remind you that there is no price too high to pay for justice. Indeed, our lives are not defined by our desire for justice…rather, our lives are defined by how far we are willing to go in order to achieve justice.


In the words of a sweet prophet of old, we are implored to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How can we love our neighbors and force little black and brown children to attend a school named after someone who believed that they should not be able to use the same water fountains as their white classmates? We can’t.


On this day, I implore you to stand up and right the wrongs of the past. Just because that’s the way it has always been…doesn’t mean that that’s the way it always has to be. Justice is worth the cost.


Now, is the time to act.













Since any recording of the meeting is not available, this account is based on what I wrote down before and what I have remembered after. Memory is a funny thing…it keeps the powerful pieces and goes grey on the less powerful. In time, I will update this post to include a transcript.


With all of these things affirmed, I want to assure you that there is no circumstance that will keep me from fighting to change the name of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. Justice demands it.



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Go to Hell CBF.


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Recently, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship reaffirmed their deeply ingrained homophobia. Repeatedly, the CBF has failed to champion inclusion and equality…just like their counterparts in the Southern Baptist Convention. What a bunch of spineless cowards. God has left the CBF and anyone with a shred of conscience should too.


On this occasion of dumbassticity, I wanted to share something I wrote about the CBF 2 years ago (February 15, 2016). Back then, I got message after message from CBF and their supporters threatening me to take this post down or face this and that. I didn’t then and I won’t now. Somebody has to show some courage.


Boycott the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship!



“Our church voted to leave the Southern Baptist Convention this past Sunday.” Overhearing Charlie’s comment, I immediately replied, “Why did y’all do something dumb like that?” Even though our whispers were escalating, we hadn’t yet caught the attention of our history teacher, Mr. Jones. “Most folks in our church wanted to ordain women.” I was absolutely incredulous. “Which one of the liberal denominations did you join?” Charlie looked at me dead in the eyes and said, “THE Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.” “Well, you might as well have been handing out free tickets to hell in the process. What’s next? Homosexual ordination?” Angered, Charlie shouted, “You’d better take that back. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship nor our church would ever in a million years ordain no faggots.” Mr. Jones raised his head and yelled, “Pipe down or you’ll be joining me in detention.” When I saw Charlie at our high school reunion a few years ago, he told me that his church was still proudly in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and ardently opposed to the participation of gay people in church or denominational life.


“The snow sets this place off.” I don’t know who I was talking to. I was alone. Maybe, I was talking to God. Maybe, I was just crazy. Who the hell knows? Regardless, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is a majestic place. The year was 2007 and the President was one Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. That’s right, I was educated within the Southern Baptist Convention long after moderates lost control of the denomination and left. A short time into my tenure, I got a phone call that would change my life. For many years, my mentor served Southern Baptist churches and his last church was affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). Though he was unquestionably more progressive, I spent many years learning from him. Picking up the phone, I heard the familiar voice of my mentor tell me that he was dying. I traveled through the night to get to him. When I arrived at the house, I walked past his family into his room. Arriving at his bedside, my mentor reached out with his cold sweaty dying hand and told me, “I’m gay and I always have been.” Death came quickly thereafter. I knew that he didn’t feel comfortable telling any of the churches he served. Though he was a moderate Baptist, my mentor was forced into a closet by the denominations he served. After these events, I grew more progressive by the day and finished Southern as quickly as possible. When I was a student at Emory University someone invited me to be a part of the CBF, I replied that I couldn’t be part of a homophobic denomination. This was before I learned of the official homophobic stance of the CBF.


“We’re not homophobic!” When you lead with an emphatic denial of homophobia, most of the time that means you’re homophobic. A few years ago, an influential member of the CBF led with such a denial. I decided to research further and found an extended history of homophobia. In October of 2000, the Coordinating Council of the CBF adopted the following policy on homosexual behavior related to personnel and funding:


As Baptist Christians, we believe that the foundation of a Christian sexual ethic is faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman and celibacy in singleness. We also believe in the love and grace of God for all people, both for those who live by this understanding of the biblical standard and those who do not. We treasure the freedom of individual conscience and the autonomy of the local church, and we also believe that congregational leaders should be persons of moral integrity whose lives exemplify the highest standards of Christian conduct and character.


Because of this organizational value, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship does not allow for the expenditure of funds for organizations or causes that condone, advocate or affirm homosexual practice. Neither does this CBF organizational value allow for the purposeful hiring of a staff person or the sending of a missionary who is a practicing homosexual.




The phrase “practicing homosexual” is about as homophobic as it gets. When I read this and think about the numerous homophobic experiences I’ve had with CBF pastors throughout the country, I’m wondering why all these folks left the Southern Baptist Convention in the first place. From recent experiences, I know that most Southern Baptists would be very comfortable with the language that the CBF uses. Maybe the folks in the CBF might be interested in going back?


I decided to take my questions to the leader of the denomination.


*Spring 2013 CBF luncheon at Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas


When I walked into the gymnasium, I couldn’t help but notice how white the room was. While the tables were white, there also wasn’t a single person of color in the entire room. The speaker of the hour was CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter. After listening to her talk about all the stuff that the CBF was doing, the time for questions came. I had to think about it. When I considered the controversial nature of my question, I decided to wait to talk to her after. We’d just exited the church when I asked about the homophobic stances and policies of the CBF. For over ten minutes, Paynter would not answer any of my questions. I remembered something a lawyer friend taught me, when someone refuses to answer a question they have already answered the question. Executive Coordinator Paynter is a defender of the homophobic policies of her homophobic denomination.


Jesus commanded us to “Love our neighbors as our selves.” How can you accomplish such a task and have such homophobic policies on the books? It’s 2016. There is no reason to be a part of any denomination that functions in this way. On homophobia, the CBF reflects the Southern Baptist Convention far more than it reflects Jesus. Until these homophobic policies are taken off the books and their churches decide to be inclusive spaces, I’m calling on Baptists to boycott the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I hope this action brings about the repentance and salvation of our fellow Baptists. Homophobia is not acceptable. In a world desperate for the love of Jesus, there’s no reason to partner with or pay for hate. For the sake of all of God’s children, boycott!




I’m not interested in boycotting the CBF. That time has passed. While I don’t believe in any kind of literal hell, I do believe in the fiery demise of evil institutions. It can’t happen soon enough for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.


Go to hell CBF.



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What if Jesus had attended the National Prayer Breakfast?

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Cold. Cold. It was so very cold. Jesus could feel the body breaking down. Every step seemed like it could be his last. Shelter after shelter turned him away. There was nothing to eat. There was nowhere to sleep. Eventually, he found a bridge. As the cars roared by above his head, Jesus cried out to God to save him. As the misery deepened, he heard nothing. Eventually, he dozed. He thought his last thought might truly be his last thought. Unable to move, Jesus just laid there until some resemblance of movement returned. Dizzy, he knew he needed food quick. In the distance, he heard people talking about prayer and faith. Praising God for this blessing, Jesus followed them. Eventually, they arrived at a huge building. He knew he had to be in the presence of the people of God and the Bread of Life always in habited such spaces. Following the prayers, Jesus walked to the door. The closer he got, the more evil looks he got. As he arrived at the door, he was immediately was grabbed and thrown out onto the sidewalk. “If you come back, you will be arrested!” Everyone in line cheered the officer son. “Don’t you know that the President is going to be here? No trash allowed!” Growing weaker and weaker, Jesus went around to a side entrance. A kind server let him in. “Are you hungry?” She left and came back with a large plate of food. With every bite, Jesus gained new strength. Prayerfully, he started walking toward the main room.

Bullshit accompanied every step. “Homeless.” “Predator.” “Mentally ill.” “Psychotic.” “Lazy.” The whispers grew louder and louder and louder. Once the program started, everything seemed to quiet down. Jesus expected to hear prayer. Jesus expected to get spiritual nourishment. Jesus expected something. He didn’t get anything. The words were consistently evil. Jesus angrier and angrier. Eventually, Donald Trump arose to speak. Praying for a miracle. Jesus leaned forward to listen. After a few words, it became clear that Trump’s God was himself. God was only a tool for beating the marginalized and the oppressed. Jesus couldn’t take it any more. Arising to his feet, Jesus screamed, “Love your neighbor as your self!” Trump didn’t waste the opportunity. “Get that piece of trash!” The crowd started to scream, “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” A couple of pastors in the audience rushed him and took him to the ground. With a “Christian” knee to his back and knee to his throat, Jesus started to lose consciousness and screamed out, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” No one could hear him…because everyone was shouting, “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” In the midst of all the “holiness,” Jesus died on the floor.



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“Kelly is a Piece of Shit.” -Jesus

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“Kelly is a Piece of Shit.” -Jesus


Revelation is magic.


Horrible smells seemed to be coming from every crevice of our home. I sniffed my way all around the house. I hadn’t checked the kids. Surely, it wasn’t one of the kids? I was expecting to find something dead. I kept sniffing. After exhausting all other possibilities, I went and checked the kids. My daughter was fine. When I got to my son, he was grinning from ear to ear. I should have known. When I bent down to take a sniff, I thought it might be the end. Eventually, I collected myself enough to clean up the toxic site. NPR was on the radio. I used the news to distract me. I needed a biohazard suit…but I couldn’t find one in the house. With both skill and ease, I dismantled the diaper. Once the final flap drop, I arrived at ground zero. A huge shit stared back at me. Then, I was distracted by something on the radio.


Amongst a whole host of other racist and problematic statements he made in the same interview, White House Chief of Staff General Jon Kelly had the nerve to call immigrants lazy.


I had to return to my duties. In the midst of finishing the change, I noticed the huge shit once more. Then, something happened. I felt divinity all around me. The divine hand reached out. We started to move together. Then, I saw the diaper. That horrible shit was still there. I saw Jesus move toward the diaper and point. In the most powerful tone I have ever heard, I heard, “Kelly is a Piece of Shit.” Jesus is always right.


Eventually, I got that diaper changed. It’s wild to have a revelation while you’re changing a diaper. Nevertheless, the shit was still speaking to me. I knew that Kelly was in that diaper. Jesus had already told me so. When I dropped the diaper with all the other trash, I looked at my son and reminded him, “That’s what happens to pieces of shit.”


And the people of God said…




Steven Pahel / Unsplash

Alone: On Being Human

Steven Pahel / Unsplash

Steven Pahel / Unsplash


Does God remember me? Dust to dust. Breathe to breathe. I am God’s creation. I think. Does God remember me?


Truth was close. I could feel it. Now, I don’t believe it was ever close at all. Maybe I want to. Maybe I don’t. Truth has always been a liar.


Shots changed my life. They pierced the night. Somehow they found me. In the midst of the chaos, I was I. God was God. In that moment, I touched the loneliness. God is alone. I was too. In the chaos…surrounded by thousands of people…thousands…I stood in the middle of the street surrounded by no one. I don’t know that I have felt God more at any point in my life. The solitude pulled me forward. I did what I was supposed to do. I did. I was. While there were people along the periphery, I was alone at the center. The cameras. The lights. The fear. What was I now? Scared. Where was I now? Somewhere. When was I now? Here. Why was I now? Fate. Who was I now? Human. The shots kept ringing. Though my feet were moving, I don’t think I’ve ever left that place. I’m still standing in the middle of the street. I’m still alone.


Death waits. Death always waits. Death is always on time.


Death is close.


Pain. It won’t let go. Even at the end…it just won’t let go. How do I survive? Is survival even possible? Maybe survival isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Pain management. Management pain. Is life about pain management? It seems that the management only leads to more pain…though management is addicting and hard to quit. Such an infatuation will eventually get us all. There is no way to manage the inevitable. The end is here. Should I wait? Pain. Should I open my eyes? Pain. Should I scream? Pain. In the end, there is only the pain of solitude. We suffer alone. We suffer and die in God. Our resurrection is our sobriety. This is what it means to be healed.


I’m still there in the middle of the street.


Darkness. Shots. Solitude. Pain.


Is it eternal?


I don’t know.


I simply stand here…


Clinging to my soul.




Seeing John Battaglia




The room was cold. It’s always cold in there. I was alone. Waiting. It seems that the purpose of prison is to wait. The seat was cold too. I laid my head on the little ledge. Sleep came quickly. I can’t remember if I dreamed or not. When you’re on death row, everything seems like a dream…or rather a nightmare. I don’t know what woke me up. Perhaps it was God. Perhaps it was the Devil. Regardless, I began to see. Everything was blurry. Then, all became clear. A chill went down my spine. I knew exactly who he was. John Battaglia is unmistakable. Grey hair. Chiseled face. Well built. Multiple tattoos. I knew everything as soon as I saw him. Immediately, he tried to intimidate me. Fear traveled up my spine. He simply would not stop looking at me. I kept trying to look away. I just wanted to see something else. His eyes pierced my soul. I couldn’t pray. I didn’t know how. He stared at me throughout eternity and back. I thought he would eventually stop. He never did. i couldn’t do anything but see. Throughout it all, his daughters came to me. I thought about their deaths. I thought about their lives. I knew they’d never died. God was there. Eventually, I began to see Battaglia for what he was…a very sick man. In that moment, he no longer had power over me. My ability to pray returned. I looked him dead in the eyes. There was a powerful blessing in there somewhere. The staring broke. Life had flowed between us. Love was in there somewhere. I once was blind…but now I see.


In an act of revenge against his former wife, John Battaglia shot and killed his daughters Faith (9) and Liberty (6) in 2001.


In an another act of revenge for his crimes, we will kill John Battaglia in 2018.


Evil is always incestuous.


Can’t you see?




Denton, Texas: The Noose / Racist USA




People live. People laugh. People dance. People love Denton. Everything they could ever want and more exist within the city limits. Truth is a frightening thing. Words can make reality appear much different than it is. The veil is quite thin. When pushed aside, Denton looks very different. White people live. White people laugh. White people dance. White people love Denton. Let’s not forget that this is a city that destroyed the homes of people of color and ran them out of town. Let’s not forget that this is a city that has pushed people of color into a specific area. Let’s not forget that this is a city that maintains racist names, monuments and artifacts throughout the city. Let’s not forget…


Something is wrong with my hip. Getting up and sitting down is excruciating. Regardless, I had to go pick up my kids from school. Every step was tough. I waited at the glass doors…just like always. It wasn’t long before I saw both of them running down the stairs. There is nothing that melts my heart more than to hear them say, “I really missed you.” I tried to hurry them along as fast as I could. I needed some rest. Eventually, we started on our journey. Deciding to take a short cut through the park, “We walked swiftly along the sidewalk.” When we turned the corner, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a noose hanging from the tree. I got closer just to make sure. It was 30 feet in the air. So, it wasn’t a swing. It was tied very securely with knots. So, someone had to have gotten up there and tied it. It was surrounded and laid on top of various small twigs and branches. So, nobody had been swinging of moving it. After a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that I had when I arrived…it was a noose.


Looking around, I couldn’t believe that all of the white people walking by hadn’t notice. White glasses are often blind the wearer to injustice. In the midst of it all, the noose simply blew back and forth. In the breeze, I knew what I had to do. I called the media first. Multiple photographers and reporters became involved. The consensus was clear…it was a noose and the city will try to say that it’s not. I don’t trust police departments to properly engage incidents like this. Their job is to protect the city…and often the duty to protect extends to the reputation of the city as well. It wasn’t long after I called the police that they arrived. One of the first things the officer said was, “It could be a rope swing.” 30 ft in the air? I paid the comment no mind. I just told him that the noose needed to come down as quickly as possible.


When I went by to check tonight, the noose was still there. I guess the city didn’t want news of a noose to disturb the tranquility of the evening. Make no mistake, this is a white city and they are going to take that noose down on their timeline. I bet it wouldn’t take this long if it was a sign that said, “Fuck White People.” That shit would’ve been down in seconds.


On the way home, I spoke my thoughts…


“This isn’t about a noose hanging in a park. This is about a noose hanging white Denton. This is about a people hanging others by refusing to open their own eyes.”



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Identity Implosion: The Failure to Be Human

Jens Johnsson/Unsplash

Jens Johnsson/Unsplash



On most days, you will find us riding around Denton, Texas on a caravan of wheels. In order to accommodate our five children, I created a bike trailer capable of carrying everyone. Needless to say, we are a sight to behold.


The meaning of life is simple…to be human. In an age of identity, desiring to be human is the apex of countercultural existence. We can talk about the ists and isms all we want…we can even completely solve these identity problems…but until we are willing to completely love our neighbor and our self…we will never find humanity…we will only find the next oppression.


Over the last few months, I have experienced a period of solitude. Much has fallen away and I’ve had the time to think and think and think. Though I’ve felt the need to hold my tongue and listen, my mind has never been far from the movement to liberate women. Throughout my profession as an activist theologian, I have been committed to engaging a wide range of issues. Certainly, we must push in all types of directions in order to become the human that God has created us to be. With that said, I have thought hard about what it would mean to go all in on women’s liberation to the exclusion of all of the other work that I do. In the midst of my wrestling, something happened. God always seems to show up.


My kids love dollar stores. For a few bucks, my kids can shop to their hearts content. After an hour picking what they wanted, we were finally able to leave. We took off through the parking lot and then headed out on the open road. After a long day of pulling them around, I got tired and pulled up onto the sidewalk. A few minutes later, a motorcyclist and a car abruptly stopped right in front of us. If we had still been in the road, there is no doubt that they would have hit us. The screaming and shouting got louder and louder. The motorcyclist was a black man. The motorist was a Hispanic woman. Racial slurs started to fly as soon as they got out of the car. “Bitch! I hope they deport your sorry ass!” “Bitch! I should lynch your ass up for this bullshit!” The back and forth seemed endless. Fuck this and Fuck that. Cunt this and cunt that. Dumbass this and dumbass that. Everything ended with each of them repeatedly spitting on each other. Two oppressed people oppressing each other.


Intersections (literally and figuratively) illustrate the failure of single identity activism. The royal rumble reminded me that oppression always exists when a lack of humanity present. In seeking to dehumanize each other, the fighters dehumanized themselves. Humanity is found in fighting for the rights of all. Justice is spread through helping people to be most human.


Dehumanization comes in a variety of forms.


We must fight them all.


Identities are a product of oppression not the creator of them.



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The Money: A Parable of Sorts (Part 6/7 of 8): The Trial


Alex Hockett/Unsplash

Alex Hockett/Unsplash







The records said that I pled out. I didn’t plea shit. Didn’t nobody care about me killing no nigger woman. While I’ve thought about it once or twice, I’ve come to the conclusion every time that the world is better off with one less nigger in the world.


Don’t judge me.


God’s just as racist as I am.


The foolishness was only a minor distraction. Business was booming. We were taking in cash hand over fist. Syrup was flowing in every direction. Eventually, we expanded all the way to Florida.


Forest and I traveled together. I guess I trusted him about as much as I trusted any nigger…but I didn’t really trust any nigger. I knew he was all about the money. I kept my eye on him at all times.


Bubbles wanted a baby. I wasn’t interested in no damn baby. Honestly, I’d grown tired of fucking her anyway. The money was able to buy me a much fresher piece anyways. In time, I gave in. Shelly was born on a beautiful morning. Looking into her eyes, I promised to give her whatever she wanted…and I have.


Money is still raining down.


Forest, I need you to drive me somewhere…take me to The Back Cat. I love for those nigger women to rub their pussies all in my face. I know I’m a hypocrite…but I’m so addicted.


I knew my leg was crushed from the moment it hit. I was supposed take Bubbles and Shelley to Hawaii. I knew that shit wasn’t going to happen. I’ve never recovered. The pain is always with me…but thankfully…I’ve still got the money.


Shelley grew up and got married. While I wasn’t particularly pleased with her chosen husband, I went along with it all. I knew the money could keep them both in line. It didn’t.


Before long, they had a child. We called him Beetle. Looking into his eyes, I knew I could make him exactly what I wanted him to be. Every year of his life, my control grew stronger and stronger.


I will use the money however the fuck I want.


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At the end of Trump’s first year, I pray for revolution


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*This column originally appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Saturday, January 20, 2018

I woke up. Fear had nested in my bones. I couldn’t see. There was something downstairs. The words penetrated the darkness. “Trump” and “win” repeated incessantly on the forgotten radio. Shock exploded. Audio of the vulgar and profane utterances filled my ears. I was terrified for the marginalized and oppressed. Their lives were already tough.


Now, things were going to get much worse. In the darkness, my soul cried out for the strength to stand with the forgotten. I stumbled. Immediately, I got back up. There would be no rest. In the light of the election, I knew that I must learn to walk anew.

Even though I didn’t believe it possible, I still prayed that he would change. I don’t pray like that anymore. I pray for revolution. I pray for the swift and immediate removal of the president of the United States.


I am a Baptist minister. For centuries, my forebears have carried the torch of religious liberty. We are firm believers in the separation of church and state. Local Baptist minister and religious tyrant Robert Jeffress does not behave like a Baptist; he behaves like a joke. He speaks evil to be seen favorably by our president. Since the election, I’ve started to realize that the separation of church and state does not mean the separation of conscience and hate. This is not about politics. This is about responding to evil for what it is: evil. These are desperate times. To not revolt against our president now is a sin that futures generations surely will not be forgive. I believe revolution is the only path to God.


Jeff Flake’s policies and politics always reminded me of a popular bully in high school. Then, something happened. Frightened by the actions of our president, Flake began to revolt. Most Republicans have sought to distance themselves from his actions. Flake doesn’t seem fazed at all.


With boldness, Flake recently rose on the floor of the Senate to deliver a withering critique of our president’s consistent denial of truth. At one point, he even compared Trump to Joseph Stalin. I couldn’t believe it. He has joined the revolution. There was one line of the speech that has stuck with me more than all the others:


“Between the mighty and the modest, truth is the great leveler.”


Our president might be the greatest liar of our age. Such a title would also make him the greatest oppressor of our age. Truth is the great leveler. It is the only thing that can set the captives free.


The verbalization of words does not create truth. Our president says he loves all people. He is lying.


Our president has mocked the disabled.

Our president has denigrated women.

Our president has shunned black people.

Our president has stolen from the poor.

Our president has bullied Muslims.

Our president has robbed native populations.

Our president has ignored the homeless.

Our president has endangered LGBT folk.

Our president has terrified Latinos.

Our president has tricked the worker.

Our president has cursed the condemned.

Our president has destroyed the environment.

The evil doesn’t stop.


Our president’s verbalization of words has not created truth. Our president says he loves all people. He is lying.


Revolution is a peculiar word. For many, it’s terrifying. For others, it’s exciting. For us, it must be our reality. Evil controls our present. It doesn’t have to control our future.




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