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Sometimes responses are just statements that don’t seem to require a reply. I had quite a few of those post-election. They were short and on the theme “look who’s crying now” or “the tables have turned and I’m so happy.” Ooooo! Salt in my wounds. Whatever. Those are just statements, not an opinion, so I don’t bother.

If someone states an actual counter-argument in a rude way, depending on the level of rudeness, I try to guess if they truly want to engage but just got triggered by something. For them, my first response is polite. If they dial back the rudeness, we can have a conversation. If not, I choose not to reward bad behavior by continuing to correspond.

I do think that one polite response/rebuttal is important for the readers, even if my correspondent is stating their position in an inappropriate manner.

This is not to say I am not open to having my horizons broadened or my mind changed. It’s one of the reasons I’m here. (Though I came here for literary, not political, reasons.) But screaming is not the way to win me to an argument.

Hope that helps, John Hopkins .

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