Good news.  Cooler weather this weekend, much-needed as we try to complete replacement of our garage door opener and other hardware to once again have a functioning system to open and close the damn thing with a remote and not brute force.

Bad news.  Oppressive heat and humidity returns Monday.  So does rain, a mixed-blessing because it helps our farmers but gets in the way of time we might have to hit the road on two-wheels for some serious motorcycle trips.

Monday will also be a busy day for those of us in the news business.  Presidential wannabe Donald Trump announces his nominee to replace retiring justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, a nominee that the hard-core right-wing hopes provides the deciding votes to pull America back into the dark ages.

America has come so far in recent years and decades, giving women the right to make their own decisions on abortions, allowing gays to marry within their own gender and other long-overdue rulings.

Such gains now face jeopardy.

Sadly, the same group of justices turned financial control of elections over to a handful of the super rich with a horrendous ruling that allowed unlimited contributions.  The Supreme Court, in its current makeup, is hardly ideal and it will be a lot worse if Trump and his self-righteous right-wing succeeds in packing the court with justices that put restrictive philosophy over the law of the land.

I know a lot about right-wingers.  For too many years, I worked within the Republican party as a political operative, writing propaganda for Ronald Reagan’s “Voices for Victory” program and advising hard-core conservative candidates as an agent for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican Senatorial Committee and the GOP’s national committee.

It is not a coincidence that I left politics the same year that I quit drinking and joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The 24-year chip that I carry in my pocket recognizes 24 years, one month and one day of sobriety as this is written.

I’ve made many amends to those I harmed during my 36 years of drinking but a long list remains of others I have not yet been able to contact.  Sadly, the damage I did as a political operative for the GOP is much more difficult to undo.  The presence of a racist bigot and con man in the White House proves that.

Amy and I watched the fireworks Friday night in the parking lot behind Mabry Funeral Home in Floyd after returning from a delightful potluck dinner at the homes of Julius Dickerson and his daughters.  Rain still fell and a bolt of lightning and nearby thunder rocked the hills as we left, thinking the weather might cancel the fireworks.

As we topped the hill near intersection of Virginia Rte. 8 and U.S. 221 in Floyd, the fireworks began to explode from the high school so we watched the display from a good location before proceeding home.

It is hard, however, to celebrate the birthday of a country that it is dire trouble.  We displayed our American flag upside down on July 4th, a notice of distress for a nation now dominated by hate, hypocrisy and intolerance.

It would be easy to pack our bags and leave our homeland but we are Americans and it is our duty to stay and fight to restore our nation to a true land of the free.

We do so not as Democrats.

We do so not as Republicans.

We do so as Americans, because we know there is a difference.