Is there a choice?

I am undecided. I am part of the 10-15% of the voters who are undecided.  Perhaps  we are disappointed, flabbergasted or just plain horrified at what is happening.

I probably should not be undecided.  I will not vote for Hillary Clinton in any scenario.  That is not up for debate.  A requirement for my current job is that I hold a security clearance from the United States Government.  Had I done what Hillary Clinton did with a personal server and classified information I would most likely be in prison for violating a litany of federal statutes.  If you have a clearance you know what “classified” information looks like even without classification markings.  You know, as part of your terms of employment, that any disclosure of information that can be harmful to the United States will, at a minimum expose you to disciplinary action that will likely include loss of a clearance and your job.  If you expose classified information as part of a coordinate attempt to shield your correspondence from review by government agencies or subvert the right of the American people to have access to a record of the actions of their government you are committing a crime.   She lied, she continues to lie.  I will never vote for her.

Then there’s Donald Trump.  Of the 16 Republicans running for the Republican nomination for President this year, he was my 17th choice.  I would like to have been able to find for a way to vote for him.  Alas, it seems that every other day he comes out with some outrageous claim, statement, or comment. I don’t think he can help himself.  There seems to be no impulse control at all.  The lack of impulse control seems, to me , to be something that I do not want in a president with access to the nuclear codes or control of the military.

As a veteran (almost 24 years in the Navy), I take offense to his attacks on a Gold Star Family.  Whether or not I agree with Mr. Kahn’s assessment of Mr. Trump’s suitability for the highest office in the land is not material to this discussion.  The fact that Donald Trump went after a family who lost a son in combat is abhorrent to me.  The best thing he could have done was ignore Mr. Kahn’s statements and simply recognize the great sacrifice that family made for this country. With that he should have been done with it.   But his ego is just so fragile, his narcissism so immense that he had to explain the “sacrifices” he made by getting rich building a real estate empire.  Add on the incident with the Purple Heart he displayed, handed to him by a supporter, where he quipped that he always wanted one for himself.   I was in disbelief, I know people who have been awarded that medal.  I am certain not one of them sought that award out.

Are his handlers just incompetent?  Does he listen to anyone? Maybe he is just blind to the optics of dangling a medal awarded for a combat injury or deaf to the sound of an attack on grieving parents.  That tone deafness continues when he infers that a supporter of the 2nd amendment should “take care” of Mrs. Clinton.

With all the political masturbation going on this year on both tickets, maybe there is a way out.  If we are lucky, while Hillary is claiming her birthright to be president and Trump is trying to convince the voting population that a presidency that stars him is the way to “Make America Great Again” we may get lucky and an extinction level event will happen.

Perhaps a North Korean satellite will fall out of orbit during the debate and take both of these blowhards out. I would have been happier with a Biden on the Democrat ticket and anyone with three working brain cells on the Republican side. But the lowest common denominators seem to have come out in droves to drive the choice to Clinton or Trump.

What does it say about our democracy that we have these two rising to the standard of their party.  It seems that we no longer have standards.

I am holding out for a meteor.  Or maybe that rogue North Korean satellite will arrive before November.

I fear for the future of my country.

 

 

 

The Angel Oak

DSCN2304Sometimes you just have to see something with your own eyes from different angles before to you understand how amazing it is. If you live along or visit the southern coast of the United States you will see Southern Live Oaks (Quercus Virginiana).  These are venerable icons of the old south, lining roads and driveways often providing complete canopies that filter sunlight like massive green stain glass windows.   On Johns Island, outside of Charleston,  there is a Live Oak that is thought to be between 300-400 years old. Named “The Angel Oak” because it was on property once owned by Martha and Justin Angel, the tree is thought to be the largest example of the species east of the Mississippi River.

The Angel Oak is over 65 feet tall, 25 feet in diameter, with its longest branch running over 90 feet away from the trunk. That limb has a circumference of over 11 feet.  It is rigged with cables and metal rods to support some of the heavier branches.  It has a shade area that covers over 17,000 square feet.

I had the chance to visit it in July while vacationing in the low country of South Carolina. You really don’t get an idea of the immense size of the tree until you walk around and under it.  The branches run from the main trunk in all directions with several of the lower branches actually going underground for several feet before emerging above the surface.  Sunlight filtered through the canopy throws light and shadow along the branches revealing Spanish moss, ferns and other plant life living off this ancient tree. It is really an amazing thing to explore and behold.

If you are in the Low Country of South Carolina, this is worth an hour or two of your time.