From where I sit, I can see a couch, wood stove, TV, book cases and various pieces of physical training machinery. (All of it needs dusting!) That’s about as far as I dare look into America the Beautiful today. I hope for hope. I need hope. I take it that this is better than no hope at all. Which is where I have been for a while.

People are saying scary and insane things today. “Stand for the flag and kneel for the Cross”. And this: “I am so happy to have a dignified First Lady for a change”. And this, ”Suck it up sore losers.“ Or, ”Stop your whining and support your president!" Oh yeah, just like you supported President Obama? Remember him? Remember how the Senate Majority leader promised to make it impossible for Obama to govern if he won his second term? Is that the kind of support you have in mind?

One thing we know: Nationalism – the current trend in the White House – which is the twin sister of Fascism, has been, throughout history draped in the flag while invoking the blessings of God. Religion and government are like oil and water. Both are ruined when mixed.

A religion that insists its principles be imposed on others is totalitarian and has no place in this country or any other for that matter. We must distrust those among us who can not practice their faith without seeking to impose it upon others.

Mr. Trump has awakened the alt.right – the Skinhead contingent. The sleeping thug has been aroused and given permission.

Human rights are now threatened as never before. Women have now become our canary in the cage. When their rights are abridged then the rights of all of us are in danger. On Saturday women all over the world led the way and took the fight to the doorstep of power. The debt this country owes to those patriots is huge.

The salivating jackals surrounding Mr. Trump are tearing at the flesh of the republic and ripping apart environmental protections, restraints on the financial industry and the ACA and ignoring the critical needs of millions of Americans while slapping each other on the back in joy and jubilation. Their replacement plan fort the ACA? Get real. It will be a windfall for he insurance cartel.

Don’t look now, but essential protections and pathways for redress are being pealed away one by one. The press is being systematically cut out of the loop and even threatened and maligned when questioning the actions of government. The corporate steam shovel is poised to dig up the Grand Canyon and ANWAR and every piece of protected land in this country.

Dissent at your peril. But dissent we must.

NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT TO US HUMAN BEINGS THAN LANGUAGE.

I am sure that most of you are as distressed as I am about the careless way language is abused these days. I’m not talking about vulgarity. That will always be with us and ironically the way the language of vulgarity is used is among the clearest examples of language usage.

I had a teacher once who used to say that a passage in some text we were reading didn’t mean what it said but it “means what it means”! So, I said, it could mean anything or nothing at all. He took offense. I probably would have as well, but I made my point – which was if words can mean anything then they are meaningless.

By virtue of this country’s twisted and broken election system we elected a minority president whose idea of language never got beyond the age of puberty. His comments about just about anything seem fit for little more than the bleachers at a hotly contested basketball game. Leader of the free world? The free world shudders at the prospect of dealing with his thin skin and proposed quick fixes.

Now comes Ms. Conway – a trusted insider – saying not to listen to his (Trump’s) words but listen to, or look into what’s in his heart. This woman is the world cup champion of Dodge Ball. When she speaks I always have to shake my head in wonder at the obfuscation and outright double-speak she uses to avoid answering the simplest of questions. Her job is to “explain” the president? To advise him? It’s a full blown Orwellian nightmare come true.

How long until we hear something like, “I know I said that but you shouldn’t believe everything I say”. Which, of course, means anything.

Stock up on batteries folks – it’s getting dark.

The other day I was deep in thought – a tricky and sometimes disturbing place to be – when I noticed that there was, what sounded to me like, some static in my cochlear implant sound processor. Something similar had happened before and I had to have the device exchanged. It was distressing to think that was happening again. I have two processors so I exchanged them but the noise continued.

I was in the midst of writing an email to my audiologist to see if she had any suggestions when I decided to go to the kitchen for a refill of darkroast. I was pouring a cup when I noticed that the static was gone. Ah ha! I said. A clue! I walked back to the chair where I was sitting with my laptop when the static started up again.

Thinking this was some kind of electrical interference I unplugged everything within reach to no avail. The noise continued. The box in which I keep the hearing aid that the cochlear implant replaced was on the side table as well. I picked it up and the sound that I was hearing increased. Ah ha, again! I opened the box and the little device was singing like a chickadee. It was turned on. When I turned it off the noise I was hearing stopped.

I had to admit that No. 1 – I am deaf. No. 2 – the sound I do hear is either “processed” by the sound processor of the cochlear implant or it’s the amplified frequencies I can hear, which, of course, leaves out the frequencies I can’t hear that are in the complete sound profile that surrounds me all the time. So, what I hear is incomplete at best.

A person with normal hearing would have zeroed in on the source of that spurious noise in an instant. I’ve walked away from running faucets, failed to respond to my name being called and simply missed aural information everyone else was taking for granted. Which is to say, I have a physical disability that is mostly invisible to others but which compels me to be constantly on the alert to clues other than aural clues so I can proceed safely throughout my day. I feel no pain. I appear normal enough that no one ever gives me a second look. But I work hard to be aware of my environment when out and about. It’s tiring.

I am very thankful for what ability I do have to hear. But I also understand that I can not trust my hearing to be true. If I can have a successful conversation with a friend it’s a good day. If I can understand a friendly voice on my phone, it’s an excellent day. I ask for assistance and clarification when out alone and specially traveling by bus or train to Boston to have my hearing hardware adjusted.

There was a time when I was a boy when someone with my degree of hearing loss would have been sidelined, much the way my grandfather was – who was deaf so that we had to shout “Supper is ready, Grandad!”, and we smiled when he said something not knowing there was an on-going conversation at the time.