This letter was written by Lee Marcus from Arkport. You can read more of Lee’s writing at “Lee Marcus, writer and activist” Facebook page.
For just over six months our country has suffered the humiliation of Donald Trump as our president. We have acquiesced under the supposition that the 2016 electoral college result was legitimate, at least until proven otherwise. For me, this has felt like a huge vehicular accident I can’t look away from, but desperately need to just stop; only, every morning I wake up and it’s still going on—the screeching tires, crashing metal, blood everywhere. I, for one, am bone tired. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about the many places in the world where I imagine I could live and try to forget.
But I’d have an awful lot to forget: my great uncle Meryll Wilcox, and my uncle John Long, both of whom died for this country. My father, Gordon Marcus, who suffered PTSD, scarred by atrocities he lived through in WWII Italy and dying at 55. My brother John, who served in Viet Nam and also died young, at age 49. So there’s that family legacy, along with the ingrained knowledge that America was once the world’s beacon, worth suffering and even dying for. I can’t just leave.
I can’t leave the farm my parents bought when I was less than a year old. There is too much history here, too much love and loss. I can’t leave my siblings, my community of neighbors and friends. I can’t leave my life as an American, I really can’t.
Still, this daily grind. This collective cringe bordering on paralysis. Watching in agony as the atrocious becomes the ordinary. We all now expect our country’s degradation to worsen each day, and it does.
So, beyond the sighing, overeating, procrastination and a host of other symptoms of depression, I work at the only discipline I can find that offers the slightest hope: community organizing. In February, I started an Indivisible group. In June I joined my county’s Democratic committee. And now I am organizing a democratic caucus for my town, the first in 35 years! This entails driving country roads, knocking on strangers’ doors, and OH MY GOSH finding closeted Democrats, who feel exactly as I do, who are also cringing and agonizing, feeling helpless to save their country from collapse.
It is hard for me to reach out to strangers in this way, and I struggle to get myself into the car. Some days I just can’t do it. But there’s gold in them there hills! So far, almost every person I have interviewed has told me s/he is the only Democrat around here. I’m so happy to show them my list, to prove that there are hundreds of us. So we’re having a party in a couple of weeks in our little town, to dispel the loneliness once and for all. And we’re having a caucus right after that; and maybe we’ll be running a few candidates for the first time in 35 years!!
I am writing to you today, because I know you have much bigger reasons than I have to be despondent. Maybe you have days when you thrash around as I do, and other days when you manage to find a glimmer of light. If I know you, you follow that glimmer. I have read your books, have watched you over the years, and I need to tell you that in spite of all you’ve sacrificed—NO, BECAUSE OF IT—you are a beacon to me. You have long represented yourself and your country with dignity, intelligence, and grace. You have played a role you never asked for (scapegoat) and been denied the one you deserved and wanted: President of the United States. People who are paying attention know that you were cheated, that we were all cheated. But none of that diminishes your stature, Mrs. Clinton. You stand with Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman as an American icon and a beacon of hope in these dark times.
I can’t thank you enough.