Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lesser Evil

I spotted this on line.  I couldn't embed the video, but it is pretty revealing.  I'll type out the transcript.

Hillary Clinton gave a speech in early June in which she quoted Trump.  It seemed a clever way to let Trump's own words reveal him to America.  Obviously people have been listening, but lots of people aren't hearing.

Clinton (in her speech) - He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.

(cut to Trump speaking to interviewer) - I know Russia well.  I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago.  The Miss Universe contest which was a big, big incredible event.

After the speech Trump tweeted - In Crooked Hillary's teleprompter speech yesterday, she made up things that I said or believe but have no basis in fact.  Not Honest! 

Clinton tweeted back - You literally said all those things.

Clinton - He says he doesn't have to listen to our generals or admirals, our ambassadors, or other high officials because he has quote, "A very good brain."

Trump (on Good Morning Joe) - I'm speaking with myself number one because I have a very good brain and I've said a lot of things.

Clinton - He has said that he would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists.

Trump - (on Fox "NEWS")  Torture works, OK folks?  You know you have these guys [mocking feminine voice]..."Torture doesn't work."  Believe me.  It works, OK?...  They asked me the question, "What do you think of water boarding?"  Absolutely fine.  But we should go much stronger than water boarding.  That's the way I feel...  When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.

Clinton - And he said if he were grading Vladimir Putin as a leader, he'd give him an A.  

Trump - I think in terms of leadership, he's [Putin] getting an A.

Clinton - And he has the gall to say that prisoners of war like John McCain aren't heros.

Trump - He's not a war hero...  [Host - He's a war hero...  five-and-a-half years...]  Trump - He's a war hero 'cause he was captured.  I like people who aren't captured, OK?  I hate to tell you.

Clinton - He also said, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do.  Believe me."

Trump - I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.

Clinton - Or he says he'll stay neutral on Israel's security.

Trump - I don't want to be in a position where I'm saying to you - and the other side now say [sic], "We don't want Trump involve [sic], we don't want."  Let me be sort of a neutral guy.  Let's see what, I'm gonna give it a shot.

Clinton - And he said this about a war between Japan and North Korea, and I quote, "If they do - they do.  Good luck.  Enjoy yourselves, folks."

Trump - And if they fight, you know what, there'll be a terrible thing.  Terrible.  Good luck.  Enjoy yourselves, folks.  If they fight, that would be terrible.  Right?  But if they do, they do.

This is a serious question.  Do you think he really didn't realize he said those things?  Because if he really thought Hillary Clinton was lying on him - then we are in for some serious trouble indeed if he becomes president of the United States.  Perhaps he doesn't realize that everything you say on camera is a permanent record.  You can't unsay something you blurted out on FOX "NEWS", or MSNBC, or CNN.  You can't pretend you can take back something you said on the TODAY Show.  Or maybe he thinks HE CAN.  Sort of the "BECAUSE I SAID SO!" thing.

In David Brooks most recent op-ed for the New York Times he said, Occasionally Trump will attempt a sentence longer than eight words, but no matter what subject he starts the sentence with, by the end he has been pulled over to the subject of himself. Here’s an example from the Mike Pence announcement speech: “So one of the primary reasons I chose Mike was I looked at Indiana, and I won Indiana big.” There’s sort of a gravitational narcissistic pull that takes command whenever he attempts to utter a compound thought...

It’s hard to know exactly what is going on in that brain, but science lends a clue. Psychologists wonder if narcissists are defined by extremely high self-esteem or by extremely low self-esteem that they are trying to mask. The current consensus seems to be that they are marked by unstable self-esteem. Their self-confidence can be both high and fragile, so they perceive ego threat all around...

And one of his most important points...  This is a unique moment in American political history in which the mental stability of one of the major party nominees is the dominating subject of conversation.

I am not surprised that he has his followers, people who will look past his very apparent mental instability and side with him anyway.  What surprises me is the sheer number of followers.  Because he speaks his mind?  Because he isn't politically correct?  Because he speaks for the working stiff?  Because he's not Hillary Clinton?  

None of this really makes sense to me.  He seems to offend almost everyone.  On purpose.  I get that Hillary Clinton is not a great choice.  Despite her experience on the world stage, she has truthiness issues.  She can be caustic.  She landed on the wrong side of the war in Iraq.  There is a long list of ideas I can't agree with and foreign policy blunders on record.  

But she is not mentally unstable.  

Don't you hate it when an election comes and neither candidate seems appropriate?  But this one for me is a no brainer.  I love my country too much.  

This time - it's lesser evil.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Life in the Woods

Living in the woods is the wild place to be. You never know what you're going to see when you walk outside. 

There is incredible diversity of animals and plants in this small area. There are spiders, frogs and toads, lizards and all different kinds of birds and insects. Every day is different than the day before. 

This morning I saw a garden spider, I think it's called an argiope. She had the coolest zigzag pattern in the middle of of her web. When I was watering the garden this great big American toad seemed to

just soak up the water that I was splashing around. I think it was grateful that I was watering. When I checked the bluebird box there were four little ones
craning their necks trying to get food they thought I had brought. And all of this took place in the span of about five minutes.

I know some people who hardly ever go outside. These people are afraid of every kind of animal. Even the thought of a mosquito bite or a bee sting makes them fearful. I don't know how people like that can enjoy living here. I mean they could be anywhere.  They could be in Minnesota or southern Florida it would all

be the same because all they would see are the four walls around them. The only air they would breathe would be conditioned.

When the weather is hot I'm sure my shirt is going to stick to my back and sweat is
going to drip for my eyebrows and onto my glasses. But I get to see the beautiful creatures that live naturally all around us.  I get to be a part of the same existence since we share the forest. 

I feel so blessed when I'm out and I get the chance to see a bumblebee buzzing around, knowing that our existence depends largely on that animal doing its job. When I see a hummingbird going from flower to flower in our garden I know we have provided some little treat, some small bit of sustenance for that beautiful creature.

The pictures in this post I took with my phone camera.  They may not be great works of art, but now I have pictures of many of my neighbors, some of my best friends, right here in my pocket.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Confederate Flag - The South is Gonna Rise Again!

It was just about a year ago that the Confederate flag came down off of our State House here in South Carolina.  We had just suffered the tragedy of the Charleston Nine.  While Governor Nikki Haley wanted to come out the hero on this one, it was clear that she had no choice.  The emails that she received left it clear that the vast majority of South Carolinians had to have it down.  

"First, I am a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Many of my ancestors served in the Southern Confederacy ... For many years I have been a supporter of keeping the flag in place on statehouse ground. However, the murder of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney along with 8 other of my Christian Brothers and Sisters changed my heart ... My Christian duty requires me to call for the removal of the Confederate Battle flag from statehouse grounds."
Randolph from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

"About 2 weeks ago there was a shooting at Emanuel AME church. When I heard about this, I was sad as can be to know there are people out there against Black People."
Handwritten note, with a smiley face stamp and hearts, from Amayah, age 10

"The current flag needs to come down either way. It has been allowed to be hijacked by hate groups. Those that revere it while being upstanding Americans will suffer unfairly."
Larry from Charlotte, North Carolina

Of course there were many responses condemning Haley for her actions to take down the flag...

"While I do not minimize the tragedy to the families of the seven [there were nine] Negros [Negros, really?!] who lost their lives nor condone the actions of Dylann [sic] Roof, I consider you a disgrace and a traitor to America, to the state of South Carolina and to your race."
Mark from Middleburg, Florida

"The rebel flag means to me home. Southern pride. Wheat fields, sunflower fields, deer hunting, hard work, trucks, racing, family and pride in where I am from. Born and raised here and damn proud of it. Ignorance 'flies' both ways. An item can not be racist, unless you are an easily offended person, or racist yourself." [Stanley seems to be easily offended to me.  Just saying.]
Stanley from Greenville, South Carolina

It was a no brainer.  She got out in front of it and made it seem like it was her brave idea.  And she got a lot of credit for it.  Who cares?  It came down.  We were there at the protest.  Heidi and her class took time away from their studies to walk down to the State House to witness the historic furling of the flag.  That flag that stood for states' rights to be sure.  Mainly for states' rights to own other people like property.  Then later for states' rights to keep a group of people down, to keep in their lower place, to keep them from voting, from drinking at the same water fountains as whites, from swimming in public pools and eating in the same spaces.  


It came down.  

And it seemed like the beginning of a new era in South Carolina.  And maybe a new era in our country.  If that flag could come down, then maybe other symbols of racism could be removed.  Maybe the Nine wouldn't have died in vain.  Maybe Dylan Roof would have started a new beginning of lives lived in peaceful understanding and celebration of our differences.  Maybe our kids could grow up in a world where we learned from our mistakes and we put racism behind us.  Maybe the Confederate flag would be a relic, a symbol of a bygone era before we were sensitive to the hateful memories it stirred.  Just maybe...

I remember that time when the flag came down as one of hope.  I love South Carolina.  I love the soft drawl and the wide open hospitality.  I love the way people down here ease into conversation with sincere questions about family.  I love the unhurried lifestyle and the gentility.  I love the fact that people let you in if you are stuck in traffic - even if it means they make themselves a little bit later.  I love the "please" and "thank you" and the way people hold doors for each other.  I love seeing mixed race couples and the beautiful children in these families.  I love teaching in a classroom where children of all races come together to talk about how to make a better world.  

And then I see this as I am driving through the country.  Then I wonder how far we've come.  

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