Anyone going to Michigan this year? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 77 Old 06-19-2005, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wondering if anyone was planning on going, or thinking of going??
My partner and I have gone every year we have been together, and this will be out daughters 5 th year.
We have always had a great time at the festival, and it is a great place for kids!!!

Kirsten
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#2 of 77 Old 07-13-2005, 04:48 PM
 
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Forgive my ignorance - which festival?
I'm in nortern MI
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#3 of 77 Old 07-15-2005, 02:39 AM
 
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Are you talking about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival?
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#4 of 77 Old 07-15-2005, 09:25 AM
 
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http://www.michfest.com/home.htm The only thing that scared me was the vegetarian food they serve all week... (carnivore here). I'm sure it's good, but I'd be sneaking out to get cheeseburgers.

It sounds awesome. I'd probably never want to come home! But no, I'm not going, too hard to get time off.

Have fun Kirsten!!
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#5 of 77 Old 07-15-2005, 11:52 AM
 
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Yeah, even if someone payed my way I wouldn't go, unfortunately. I'm not into their "womyn born womyn" policy, and I happen to also have two boy-children that I would want to be able to hang with for the weekend. Le Tigre is playing near me and I won't be going to see them, either. I think it's utterly lame to discriminate against trans women. It's a shame, becasue it probably could have been a great festival.
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#6 of 77 Old 07-15-2005, 11:57 AM
 
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I was planning to go and even had scheduled the time off of work....however, DP and I are instead getting married I cannot believe this day has actually come for us. I cannot quit smiling
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#7 of 77 Old 07-15-2005, 02:25 PM
 
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Congrats on your marriage!!
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#8 of 77 Old 07-18-2005, 10:57 PM
 
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I went for five years in the mid-90s, but my partner and I stopped going for several reasons: 1) unsupportive of bisexuals (as I am), 2) "womyn-born-womyn" policy excluded several of our friends, 3) many sub-communities are marginalized. We decided our $$ was better spent elsewhere. Now I have a male partner, and we prefer to attend events we can enjoy together.

Having said all that, I appreciate the value of women-only space, I really had a fabulous time, and if I have girl children, I may very well bring them back with some queer friends. My best friend is a lesbian and she is TTC right now. The girlspace is so cool! =)
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#9 of 77 Old 07-19-2005, 12:08 AM
 
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Just wanted to chime in that I'm another person in the "would *love* to go but cannot support the womyn-born-womyn policy". It really sucks because I've heard such great things, but I just could never support something that tolerates that kind of trans-phobia.

Plus, DW hates womyn music, aside from ani difranco. she likes "System of A Down" and that kind of crap. She didn't even know who k.d. lang was until I filled her in, haha! :LOL
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#10 of 77 Old 07-23-2005, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I find it interesting that in space, there are so many womyn who do not recognise the need for women who have lived their whole lives as women, to gather together and celebrate who we are. The Michigan Womyn's music festival is not anti anything, it is pro-womyn born Womyn.
MWMF is a great place to meet other womyn, and see any body type that you could imagine. It is a place where little girls can run freely, because they are surrounded by thousands of mothers. It is a place where you might see your old school teacher, girl scout leader, 3 rd grade crush... It is a place where you can hear music ranging from punk to Klezmer to yodeling... Learn to belly dance or samba, spend the day talking to your girlfriend and shower under the stars. Try some new food. Marvel in the wonder that womyn can make, and take apart!! That is just a bit about what the MWMF is about.
Now here is not what it is. It is not air conditioned, it is not in the city, it is not a place for those who do not want to change their lives, or to celebrate the womyn that they are. It is not a place for men, or those who choose to live their lives as men.
Because it is a celebration of womyn and the lives that we lead.

Kirsten
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#11 of 77 Old 07-23-2005, 06:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mplsmom
I find it interesting that in space, there are so many womyn who do not recognise the need for women who have lived their whole lives as women, to gather together and celebrate who we are.
Kirsten
I, for one, have not lived my whole life as a woman. I was once a little child.
I, probably as most children, was filled with insecurities. Existential Panic, as it were.
I was mortally self conscious about my hair. I thought I would be happy turning into a little pile of sand and being blown away by the most convenient gust of wind. Imagine how I would have felt if I was stuck with a penis between my legs that I didn't want, as well.
One of the most beautiful thing about womyn, in my opinion, is our ability to empathize in an uncannily harmonious way with other living creatures. Especially our sisters in spirit.
Well now, I can talk festival-jive too.
I celebrate womyn every blinkin' moment of my life and it certainly as #ELL is not about what we physically look like. It is about who we have become.
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#12 of 77 Old 07-23-2005, 11:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mplsmom
It is not a place for men, or those who choose to live their lives as men.
Apparently, it could be. I know FTMs who are welcomed at the door (because they were "born womyn") and I know MTFs who still feel marginalized at Festival, even though they "pass" very well.

I personally felt marginalized by the women who said unkind things to women in leather... by the women who picketed the punk rock group Tribe 8 with hatred in their voice... by the women who said time and again that "bisexuals aren't *really* queer..." by the pain of women who had to leave the festival grounds to nurse their 5-year-old boys sequestered in Brother Sun.

Apparently MWMF is not a celebration of all women. I cannot support that.
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#13 of 77 Old 07-27-2005, 12:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nubianamy
Apparently MWMF is not a celebration of all women. I cannot support that.
Exactly. And I'm sorry, but I would never want to teach my daughter (if I have one, some day) that this type of discrimination is ok. We have lots of trans friends. What if festivals for black women excluded those who are mixed race? I just can't support something that excludes trans women because they don't fit in their definition of women.
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#14 of 77 Old 07-27-2005, 03:29 PM
 
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I know that the festival is not a perfect world and I honor your choice to abstain but I am one momma who feels the ach of missing Michigan this year. I have gone 6 out of the last 12 years and really wanted to make it this year but finances don't allow. I will certainly hurt when my son's are not allowed on the land any more and will not subject them to the isolation of Brother Sun. That leaves very few years left to include them. As a heterosexual woman, I of course feel marginalized at the festival which has been an enormously enlightening experience. If I only participated in things I was in complete agreement with, I might never leave the house.

Maureen
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#15 of 77 Old 07-29-2005, 12:02 PM
 
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I get that, Maureen -- I miss festival sometimes too, and I have lots of friends who still go. I'm enjoying watching my best friend go every year and I live vicariously through her. =)
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#16 of 77 Old 08-15-2005, 03:43 PM
 
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So did anyone go? How was it??
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#17 of 77 Old 04-17-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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Hi - I love Michigan. I don't have a problem with the women born women policy. I know this raises lots of issues and I don't even care to discuss them anymore. It's that I respect that it is a privately owned space and the festival owners have the right to design that event any way they want. There are lots of festivals all over the world and each has their own politics. I think they all should. Each of us if deciding to attend should attend the one most in line with their thinking. I love the energy of Michigan. I have found it no where else on earth. I have all sorts of other issues with Michigan, but in the end there is more I love than hate. There is more I get out of going than I will ever get out of not going. I have been a part of the community of Michigan for 11 or 12 years. We love it.

I am going pregnant this year. I will be 6 months pregnant by then. I would really really like to connect to Michigan loving moms out there. My partner and i have been together 10 years and consider Michigan a time to renew and gain center in ourselves.
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#18 of 77 Old 04-17-2006, 05:00 PM
 
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I think we get to go this year... Joey will be 4 so it is kind of now or never. Anyone else?

Maureen
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#19 of 77 Old 04-18-2006, 12:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Magic Denise
I am going pregnant this year. I will be 6 months pregnant by then. I would really really like to connect to Michigan loving moms out there. My partner and i have been together 10 years and consider Michigan a time to renew and gain center in ourselves.
I think it could be different for me if I had a female partner.

I do have a daughter and I plan to bring her in the future, at least a few times, so she can experience Michigan as a young child. It was so profound for me at 19, I can only imagine what a difference it would make to have those experiences be "normal" growing up.

She's only going to be five months old this August, so I think I'll wait another year or two.
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#20 of 77 Old 04-18-2006, 05:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lunadoula
Exactly. And I'm sorry, but I would never want to teach my daughter (if I have one, some day) that this type of discrimination is ok. We have lots of trans friends. What if festivals for black women excluded those who are mixed race? I just can't support something that excludes trans women because they don't fit in their definition of women.
i teach my black son and daughter that they need to create spaces for themselves that they feel comfortable in. sometimes they choose to have space to play with black kids even though they are at a mixed school. even at 3 and 5, they feel the difference. even though their white friends may feel "excluded." sometimes we just don't get to be everywhere we want to be. that doesn't mean they don't have worth or aren't loved. hell, if i didn't teach my 5 year old that, i would NEVER get a chance to be alone with myself or my partner!

and i think it would be absolutely FINE for black women to exclude mixed women. they have totally different experiences of racism in the world. and although we (a lived experience i reference here) have lived with racism, having lighter skin or "good hair" or all of these other ridiculous things that have been imposed on our bodies from inside and out change how we wrestle with our internalized racism. is that defining how the mixed woman is a woman or is it figuring out who shares a lived experience of similar damage? to create separate space to heal with our respective experience growing up with and living with racism seems absolutely right to me.

i mean, on that note, are you against MWMF's Women of Color tent? shouldn't white women be able to go to that tent because they are women too? would you be cool with all women attending a space for trans-women only because we are all women?

recognizing our *lived* differences, creating celebrations about those differences is an important part of life for me and my kids. being raised as a boy is not the same as being raised as a girl. as parents, we see this better than anyone.

and that is one of the reasons why michigan is SO GOOD for my kids, especially my daughter. she gets to remap her brain. and my son has a deal with not getting the privileges (even as a black boy) that are bestowed on him every day. and i see it every day...he gets attention and power dumped on him in a way my daughter does only if she looks "cute."

our oppressions make us who they are. as women, as queers: we are women of color, we are fat, skinny, we are white, we are trans. i'm not willing for myself or my daugher to become a homogenized "woman." i honor my lived experiences, my differences and out of basic respect i would hope others would honor it too.

oh, and as for F2Ms, why would a man want to go to a women's festival?!? that's not about "letting them in" that's about self-selecting. and if someone self selects to go to a women's festival, they clearly don't consider themselves a man.
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#21 of 77 Old 04-18-2006, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fatgirlmom

our oppressions make us who they are. as women, as queers: we are women of color, we are fat, skinny, we are white, we are trans. i'm not willing for myself or my daugher to become a homogenized "woman." i honor my lived experiences, my differences and out of basic respect i would hope others would honor it too.
I agree. That's why I think it's wrong to exclude ONE type of woman. Just one type. It's not a festival for just one select group of women. It's for every group, every type of ability, every culture, every brand of sexuality EXCEPT transwomen. I have a huge problem with that.

Quote:
oh, and as for F2Ms, why would a man want to go to a women's festival?!? that's not about "letting them in" that's about self-selecting. and if someone self selects to go to a women's festival, they clearly don't consider themselves a man.
I don't think that wanting to go to a festival defines a person's gender.
I have transsexual (FtM) friends who would not go into a woman's only space.
In fact I personally don't know any who would. They are all men who truly understand the need for women to have a safe space. But if one of them were to want to go to a women's festival, I wouldn't for a minute think that means they're not men!! I can think of lots of men who would looove to go a to a beautiful feild, listen to awsome music, and be surrounded by thousands of beautiful women. Come to think of it, I can't think of many who wouldn't.
Heck *I* would want to go to if ALL my sisters were welcome.
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#22 of 77 Old 04-19-2006, 10:38 AM
 
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i mean, on that note, are you against MWMF's Women of Color tent? shouldn't white women be able to go to that tent because they are women too?
Not at all. I see a big difference between providing a safe space WITHIN a womenspace for a certain kind of women, and excluding one kind of woman entirely from the festival. Yes, I'd love to see a TransWoman tent at Michigan!

Quote:
Would you be cool with all women attending a space for trans-women only because we are all women?
I don't know of any spaces for transwomen only.

Quote:
oh, and as for F2Ms, why would a man want to go to a women's festival?!? that's not about "letting them in" that's about self-selecting. and if someone self selects to go to a women's festival, they clearly don't consider themselves a man.
No, you don't understand -- F2Ms *would* be allowed into the festival. Because, according to the policy, they were "born womyn." On the other hand, a transwoman who has lived 20 years of her life or more as a woman would *not* be allowed in. This bizzare reasoning was what convinced me to stay away after 5 years of joyful attendance.

I want to allow all women to define themselves, not to allow anyone else to define who they are.
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#23 of 77 Old 04-19-2006, 11:02 AM
 
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Also saying "born womyn" and then excluding MTF is in fact, denouncing transsexuality. MTF people *are* born womyn. Hence the whole transitioning thing, y'know?
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#24 of 77 Old 04-19-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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I love the view you are bringing to this. You offer a fresh perspective that I have thought myself but not verbalized/written.

I hope we can meet at fest this year.

Hurray.
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#25 of 77 Old 04-19-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Magic Denise
I love the view you are bringing to this. You offer a fresh perspective that I have thought myself but not verbalized/written.

I hope we can meet at fest this year.

Hurray.
I'm curious about how easy it is to dismiss what I and other posters have written about this.
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#26 of 77 Old 04-25-2006, 02:52 PM
 
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I was always a little unsure how I felt about the boy child policy at Michigan. I have read the notes from little girls that were terrorized and tortured by boys too old to be on the grounds. I also can't imagine having a boy and not being with him, but we went to see it all first hand. My partner and I have both done workshifts there and it changed my view forever. First off, walking there was surprising to me. I didn't know where it was, and yes it is away from everything. Then I got there only to see the boys having lots and lots of fun. I started to realize that who was I to determine what was good for them when they were off having so much fun. My partner was there once for the 10 year old boys closing ceremony. They loved it. They loved their own camp experience. They were each given a rock/chrystal to symbolize each of them. The boys were so moved. Most of the boys had come since birth and they cried and cried that this would be their last year.

When I realized how much they liked their experience, I thought who am I to judge what they think is wonderful. It's just another slice of something different going on at the festival.
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#27 of 77 Old 04-26-2006, 12:21 PM
 
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wow. we have a very different way of seeing the world.

mamajama -- um, NO, MTF women are not BORN women, hence transition, and voice training, and for some, major facial/cranial surgery. if MTFs were born female, there would be no need for surgery at all. in fact, if MTF were born female, there would be no transsexuality at all. that's ridiculous for you even to say.

there is a PROCESS to growing up. People of color know this instinctively. there is a moment that they realize they are of color. that is because they are told. through racism and through survival techniques. the same is true of being raised a girl. that is an experience that is known because it was lived.

do people ever get to gather around a self-defined lived experience? ever?

i ask you again: do you think white people should be allowed in POC only spaces because we are all people? do you think separate spaces are EVER acceptable? specifically, do you think that WBW is inherently unacceptable? do you think there is no lived experience differential between transwomen and women who have always been perceived as girls?

same is true for girls. they are told constantly they are not-boy. and they are told constantly how to be "girl." being a girl is not the same as being a transkid. and slapping those experiences together does no service to transkids who ARE suffering from the acute transphobia out there.

and nubiamama, um, yes i DO understand. i've gone to festival for over a decade, so i actually know how it works from experience and from thinking about and considering BOTH sides of this discussion from people on both sides of the issue. have you?

as for your statement that F2Ms would be allowed, the festival is for women who were born as, raised as, and currently live as women. all three. F2Ms aren't women. they are men. and if an F2M comes to a festival FOR WOMEN, they are either totally oblivious to privilege of taking up space over women's bodies or desires or they don't idenitfy as a man. it isn't the people's festival. it is a festival for WOMEN BORN WOMEN. and for a man to barge into women's space is bullshit.

also, there are loads of trans only spaces. www.strap-on.org has one. should all women be able to go there simply because we are all women?

MWMF doesn't question gender because it is the only place on earth where girls/women who DON'T conform to what girls/women are supposed to be get to celebrate their own beauty. that means bearded women, butch women, etc. being a woman who was raised her whole life being told she wasn't "acting" as she should, or being denied access to things because she is a girl is a lot different than being told to act "more" like a boy.
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#28 of 77 Old 04-26-2006, 12:34 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Magic Denise] It's that I respect that it is a privately owned space and the festival owners have the right to design that event any way they want... Each of us if deciding to attend should attend the one most in line with their thinking. I love the energy of Michigan....in the end there is more I love than hate. [QUOTE]

I agree with you-after much soul searching.

The last time I went to Michigan was over 5 years ago, and I was working as a volunteer, and befriended and supported several activists at Camp Trans, the protest camp at the main gate. It chapped my hide that women were being turned away because of their biology- after all, we've fought long and hard to prove the point that biology is not destiny.

However, during the same year, I spoke to to women who had been coming for years and years and years- my foremothers. They treasured the space, and had worked extremely hard to make it the refuge that I loved. I had conversations, and a few arguments. I explained why I was pro-inclusion of women-identified-women, and I believe began the slow process of changing hearts and minds.

Discrimination is not ok, and I hate that in order to support a festival that has meant so much to me, I have to actively support discrimination against trans women. However, I also recognize that I can do more good talking to women on the inside, changing the culture of the festival, and hopefully insuring that in future generations the festival will grow and change to include all women. Michigan is such an amazing, beautiful festival- and it is built on the idea that women need space apart. Hopefully, as our culture evolves, we can grow it to include all women.


erin

Used to be stay at home parent to our two lovely girls, survived nursing school with family intact, about to graduate and looking for a job! I low-supply nursed my bio daughter for 3 years. 

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#29 of 77 Old 04-26-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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as a committed anti-racist and a committed trans-activist, i just wanted to add that, for me, i don't see a clear or direct correlation between POC-only spaces and women-only spaces.

absolutely, the festival shouldn't be "race-blind." the "we're all just people" attitude erases real differences, ignores the fact that racism is alove and well, and can often be a way of coding that we're all the same as long as we agree that white culture and white experience is the "norm." it is critically important to honor WOC's individual experiences and for WOC to have honored spaces at a place like Michigan Womyn's Festival.

at the same time, i want to say that it would never be appropriate for the festival to decide who got to identify as a woman of color. interracial folks, lighter-skinned folks, etc would and shouls all be welcomed. it would be wrong to say that there's only one way to experience being a WOC. similarly, it would be wrong to say that there's only one way to experience being gendered female. this isn't just about the exclusion of my trans-women friends, but also my intersexed friends, many of whom don't feel like they were "born womyn" at all, even though they were socialized and raised as girls.

i'm not sure where i'm heading here, and i think this post is long enough, but i hope that it can be a start at breaking down the comparison of gender to race.

in the meantime, i know that there's lots of change happening from within, and i commend the trans-friendly folks who are creating change at the festival every year. i can't wait to attend a festival in michigan where all women are welcome!

Joyful, busy, often overwhelmed queer academic mama to an awesome toddler and:

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#30 of 77 Old 04-27-2006, 04:01 AM
 
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schess,
We share the same viewpoint on this exactly. You said it much better than I could right now because I'm running on way too little sleep.
Just wanted to say thanks for that post.
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