Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

DEAR ABBY: Your column consistently uses a few well-chosen -- often eloquent -- words to say a great deal on a vast array of topics, typically with grace, wit, style, and a uniquely American use of irony to drive home a point. Equally important, you treat all of your readers with compassion and dignity and call upon them to treat others accordingly.

"Harpers Ferry" gave the Dear Abby column an R-rating. In my book, any teacher smart enough to recognize the column as an effective teaching tool to help others understand and communicate what it really means to be an American, gets an A-plus. -- GEORGE MARCELLE, LOS ANGELES

DEAR GEORGE: Thank you for beautifully articulating the Dear Abby philosophy.

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