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.
The line about “closeted Democrats” really struck me. I never thought of myself like that, but honestly that is what I’ve been. I’ve been a Democrat all my life, since I was 12 years old and was pulling for John Glenn in the 1984 primaries. But living in this hardcore Republican area, I learned long ago to simply smile and nod and keep my mouth shut to avoid conflict whenever politics came up in conversation.
Once the GOP was legitimately recognized as the party of Lincoln, the party of justice for all, the party cognizant of rural issues, the good government party, the party of women’s suffrage, the opponent of urban corruption. It is that no more, but traditional voting habits remain. It is no accident that NY-23 politicians frequently disparage our fellow citizens who live near Albany or NYC. As long as we see urbanites as the enemy and Republicans as defending our values, those of us who reside in rural places are likely doomed to be represented by Republicans.
No truer words ring true right now. I live in the western part of the district and a hardcore Tea Party faction that openly taunts Democrats from behind a computer screen and they absolutely hate facts but will strike out only behind the protection of that keyboard. I write frequently here and in our local conservative newspaper I can attest they are “closet” Democrats and we need to open those closet doors and let them know you aren’t alone and that we are truly #StrongerTogether. Hillary has organized another group called #OnwardTogether, head over to the group on Facebook and like the page.
I have been with Hillary since November 9th and she isn’t sitting still, she needed some well earned time off. Don’t count her out, Lee. I sent her your words, she still reads all of her mail. ❤
Unfortunately the current Republican’s widely “say” they’re the party of Lincoln but their actions tell us all different. We need to push the fact about the difference between Lincoln versus Reagan Republicans. Many have believed that Democrats have been a dirty word and are nothing but “takers” being a liberal is a great thing for our population.
You aren’t alone David. Many Democrats have had an awakening of sorts and are popping up like those dandelions in the yard. Let’s hope they multiple as fast and find their voices.
I cannot say I have been closeted, but when the prevailing attitude is deeply republican, I have nodded & let much I vehemently disagree with ,go-and I have tolerated many people whom I find morally rotten . It is hard to be out there now with my opinions, I don’t enjoy being angry . I secretly dream of the day when I can not work & not have any but the occasional Republican i my life. Sad, but this Trump thing is just too far & I cannot go back to letting things go. I keep saying that if those who are Dems with community standing will come out , it would say a lot to the people they know .
Because of liberals, we have weekends.
Lee, we are indeed popping up like dandelions, and we are just as tough and persistent as dandelions once we find each other. We are with you. Kudos to you for what you are doing, and I hope you have the strength to keep moving forward.
Since waking up to the nightmare in November, I’ve joined my town Democratic Committee, became a town rep on the county Dem committee, and I just petitioned to be a rep again for a 2-year term. Our very small town Dem committee is growing! I live in a rural town where “Repeal the Safe Act” and “Trump” signs are still there and the tea party still exists, but I am finding more and more of Reed’s “extreme liberals” are here, too. We are indeed stronger together.
Thank you William, you made my day.
Carol, there are only a few of us extreme liberals in Prattsburgh and I’m proud to be one. Never back down is my motto.
Thank you for posting this wonderful letter. He expresses that which many of us have been struggling with since the election. Sadly, the Dems will continue to lose unless they stand strong on the Progressive agenda. The party needs to start offering a platform for the people, and to let that MESSAGE BE HEARD. Hillary ran the last days on anti-Trump rhetoric, rather than pushing the platform…ignoring what made Bernie Sanders so popular. I do hope the party separates itself from corporate sponsers and moves forward. “A Better Deal” doesn’t sound like a good place to start, though.
Soon I will be back in my hometown in a red state for a visit with my family. I will have to brace myself because it is definitely Trump country, and 100% of my family voted for him.
I understand the outrage. And I sympathize.
I do not understand why people feel cheated. Clinton ran a bad campaign—from her slogan, to the deplorables, to underestimating the importance of her email servers, to ignoring Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, to self-identifying as the Anti Trump candidate. And there is much more…
A decent candidate with a decent campaign would have beaten Trump so badly that he would have hidden at Mar-a-Lago for the rest of his life.
By all means, join the Democratic Party. Get others to join the Democratic Party. Be active.
I will remain an independent until it is made clear to me what the Democrats stand for.
Being anti-Trump is not enough. As Hillary proved.
Note that Barack Obama neglected the local and state Democratic Party in favor of his presidency. A proximate cause of the rise of the Republicans
A discussion of the difficulties facing the left. Reality check.
Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million. And the voting systems in several states were hacked, so we can’t be certain about the electoral vote. I believe there have presidents who won with less than a 3-million-vote margin. Were they terrible candidates?
I don’t know if Hillary’s campaign was substandard or not. I don’t believe another candidate has faced an adversary like Trump. Clinton had at least one potential obstacle that no other Democrat or Republican has had–her gender. I do believe that Clinton ran an honorable campaign; how many times was it said that Trump was surely doomed after some scurrilous remark of his?
Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million.
Indeed she did. And her campaign failed to understand the negative impact her failure to carry the Rust Belt states would have on the Electoral College.
And the voting systems in several states were hacked, so we can’t be certain about the electoral vote.
And supposing the hacking was proven to have benefitted Trump, proving that Trump is therefore an illegitimate President. What happens then?
And why is nothing being done to deal with that very real issue today?
Neither Republicans nor Democrats have announce any sort of plan for either 2018 or 2020.
I believe there have presidents who won with less than a 3-million-vote margin. Were they terrible candidates?
I do not know who you are talking about.
and there are others…
all it takes is a willingness to look.
There are too many words in Nathan J. Robinson’s article for me to comprehend. In brief, I believe Clinton lost because voters failed to identify with her values. Possibly, no campaign strategy would have overcome that–it just wasn’t her day to succeed.
In 2004, GWB bested John Kerry by about 3 million votes.
Too many words?
OK, Reader’s Digest version, then….
April 26, 2017
The Clinton Comedy of Errors
“a calamity of a campaign ”
“The senior staff engaged in constant backstabbing and intrigue, jockeying for access to the candidate and selectively keeping information from one another. ”
“Clinton was so sealed off from her own campaign ”
“Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook comes across very badly indeed, and appears to have been the wrong man for the job. “”…he appears to have been an idiot. ”
“…Clinton herself was an adherent of the “facts over feelings” dogma, and was so “driven by math… that she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see that she was doing nothing to inspire the poor, rural, and working-class white voters.”
“A vast speechwriting bureaucracy watered down every public utterance to the point of total vapidity ”
“Clinton didn’t know or care much about Kaine, but he was simply the end result of a formulaic process of elimination. Nobody had any notion that he would energize voters; he was merely logically inevitable, having met the maximum number of designated criteria. (Note that if Clinton had picked Bernie Sanders she would have won the election, but this was never even seriously considered.) ”
“Many of Hillary Clinton’s supporters have been resentful over the attention paid to the infamous “email scandal,” suggesting that Clinton was unfairly damaged in the press over something trivial. …Clinton’s own poor management of the situation helped drag the story out. ”
“”Clinton did know that she was clueless about the psychology of the American voter, at one point admitting “I don’t understand what’s happening with the country. I can’t get my arms around it” and knew she “couldn’t grasp the sentiment of the electorate.” ”
“But throughout the process, she disregarded the advice of those who cautioned her about getting on the wrong side of the prevailing populist tides. ”
And there is much more.
Thou doest protest too much. Knock yourself out.
And didn’t THAT work out well!
I have the same feelings. I live in a red state and it is so disheartening to see the things that people say and do. I am proud to be a Democrat all of my 66 years. I love my country but I have shed buckets of tears since November. I can’t sit silently because all Americans deserves part of the pie.
I have admired Hillary and her family since 1990. I remember when Bill was elected Hillary was going to work on health care and the GOP shot that down because she was not the one elected to office but look now we have an entire family working on the White house and not elected either.
Reblogged this on Meanderings of a Tellurian Metaphorist.
Didn’t Hillary win the popular vote by over 3 & 1/2 million-actually by nearly 3.6 million popular votes? Also, wasn’t the original mandate for the Electoral College so that very knowledgeable and intelligent voters would prevent an “unfit” candidate who managed to win the popular vote from tainting the Presidency? Republicans were in collusion with the rich corporations, with the NRA, with Arms Dealers all over the world, with greedy power-hungry corrupt politicians here in the United States, as well as who yet knows exactly what foreign powers to rig this election to destroy our democracy, take away ordinary people’s rights and freedoms, making hard working people here sometimes work 12 hours a day in a factory that is sweltering hot with poor ventilation, allowing due “vacations” only if they take Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday, and work Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday. Because the totally misnamed “Right to Work” laws that Republican governors & others are passing puts all power in the hands of the employer, if the worker does not want to be fired, he dare not open his mouth to complain. I know for a fact this is happening in KY. All corporations’ taxes are taken out of the workers’ pay on top of regular state and federal taxes. Republicans have been working to get into a position of total power ever since Newt Gingrich’s rotten mustard gas political tactics and their vilifying Hillary because they saw her as a threat to their plans. In all my years, I never thought our own citizens would sell out our country. Somehow this needs to be made right with justice for all!
I’m am saddened by your loss also .Thank you for a lifetime of achievement and I bet you was cheated .Hail to the real President
Every thing you wrote in this absolutely wonderful letter is everything I have been wanting to say my self. Every word is exactly what I have been thinking a man who is bringing this country down to its knees ever single day. The anxiety and the stress of what Trump does and does and does that’ is causing people,to feel that he wants to hurt people and take health care from millions of men, women, and children…and not shedding a tear as long as he can sign something. People are,in chaos, and worry about this beautiful country of ares …..god help us all.
Lee, Thank you for sharing your heartfelt letter to Ms. Clinton. We too, my dear Mother, my family and I are all deeply saddened and upset at the obvious loss of her as our president. It would have been the greatest birthday gift to Mom if Hillary has become our first true and rightful president on her birthday. Our country, and the entire globe would be in so much better of a place than we are now. We know how it happened in our heart. We know! We resist this horrific unethical power crazed family in office, and his gang of thugs. We pray he is eventually stopped and they are ousted. I belong to a local chapter of Indivisible as well. We work to put our own candidates in office. We fight. We protest. We do all we can to resist the backward evil changes of this supposed republican administration. We keep track of what needs to be done to reverse it. Hoping it won’t go so far that it will take years to bring us back. Again, thank you for writing to her. I hope you have heard back. Thanks for standing up, for keeping your family farm (doing the same here, too), for resisting and for staying here. We need each other. Kathy K. A fellow Indivisible.
Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960 by fewer than 3 million votes. Nixon beat Humphrey in 1968 by fewer than 3 million votes. Clinton’s margin over Trump was nowhere near the smallest — and it’s the only time in our history when a candidate winning by that large a margin was not declared the winner.
Trump had a better Electoral College strategy than Clinton.
Read about it here:
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/donald-trump-had-a-superior-electoral-college-strategy/The United States was warned in the 2000 election about the problem with the electoral college.
She spent weekends in the Hamptons, lavishing time on rich donors while ignoring the Rust Belt.
She was beaten by someone who understood the rules better.
The 2000 election was a warning of what could happen in the Electoral College.
Barack Obama / ALL the Democrats did nothing to address it.
Trump beat Clinton by the law of the land.
The law is the law, even if you do not like it.
Work to change it! Stop whining.
Trump still brags about his election win 10 months ago.
And many here on the left continue to grieve over Clinton’s loss 10 months after the fact.
There are more similarities between the right and the left than I would have guessed.
My family is almost all republicans and I live in Iowa. So I can relate to you. Hillary is a wonderful fighter for us, but we have to do everything we can to stand up for our democracy. The resistance is strong. Thanks for your thoughts. We are kindred spirits.
All complaining that hillary ran a bad campaign…no..she didn’t…she ran a great Camping…sadly…no matter wht she did..no democrat was going to win the electoral college in 2016 because it was favor the blue collar rust belt states and the Midwest small populations….people who had already decided that Obama gave their jobs away…and nafta was a Dem thing…and Trump did not campaign better than Hillary….far from it…what he did do was run a campaign based on false promises and fear-mongering…he pandered to the cultural nationalism latent in the worker and poor classes and he reinforced their fear of Muslims and losing their guns…..that was the driving force in his win….she did the impossible…she got the popular vote…in spite of all the cards stacked against her from all sides….the eight year cycle is almost as instituted in American politics as the two party system….people want change..they vote dem…eight years go by and they don’t have that great job or wonderful life…they look around and decide it must be the dems…so they vote republican…eight years later…all their problems must be the fault of the repubs..so they vote dem..and on and on…..only difference….this election they went off the rails by voting repub…if they actually did vote repub….in my humble opinion Hillary probably managed to actually get the rust belt by a small margin…again the impossible…but it was hacked away in favor of trump by our red buddies…..the repub party is no longer just a political party…they are the new hard line right Christian Conservative party…..the American taliban if you will….and the hard left Bernie peeps are the flip side of the coin….leaving all the moderate repubs and dems shaking their heads and saying…wtf…Hillary should have been our president….end of discussion….
Sorry for the auto correct typos in the beginning….do not see a place to edit…
Just remember that Donald received 46% of the vote, and as of today, he has a 33% approval rating, that’s a drop of 13%. Notice he is not touting his ratings any more.
1. The 2016 campaign is over. It is done. The outcome cannot be changed. We can spend time grieving about the past or we can spend the time doing something about the future.
2. If we choose to address the future, we need to learn from mistakes and move on so the same mistakes are not repeated.
3. We are still waiting on a post-mortem from the Clinton campaign explaining why they lost. That is something that is owed every person who backed Clinton with time and/or money.
4. Post-mortems are available to anyone who is interested. Books, magazine articles, newspaper articles. Much documentation can be found supporting the view that Clinton ran a poor campaign.On many levels. I’ve found none stating she ran a good campaign. Although many people have opinions contrary to the facts.
5. As of June, 2017, Gallup reports that Clinton’s unfavorability rating is unchanged since November of 2016. An abysmal 57% of Americans view her unfavorably. Trump’s unfavorability rating in the same poll was 58%.
6. Which begs the question—are people joining the resistance / Democratic party because Clinton was cheated? Or because of Trump’s trainwreck of a presidency?
7. The first page of the Indivisible Guide at https://www.indivisibleguide.com/ defines Four Tactics to Pressure Your Members of Congress to Resist Trump
8. This blog is an Indivisible Blog. I see much on it about the 2016 election. Very little about either the 2018 or 2020 elections. Nothing can be done about 2016. The 2018 and 2020 elections are up for grabs.
9. NY-23 leaders are content to wait for the campaign to begin once a challenger to Tom Reed is chosen in July 2018. I continue to push for a more robust resistance and ALWAYS get pushback.
10. Not all Democratic districts are choosing this path.
This is what is happening in KY-6:
Lt. Col. Amy McGrath (Ret.) is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and a former Marine Corps fighter pilot. She’s now running to unseat Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) in the Bluegrass State’s sixth district. Earlier this week, she released an ad throwing her hat into the ring, and it’s a doozy. Over the course of two minutes, she makes four main arguments:
Republicans are sexist
Republicans tried to take your health care away
Mitch McConnell is a jerk
Democrats can win in Kentucky
BTW, there are two other Democratic candidates running.
It warms my heart that some Democrats are not content to sit waiting.
Every single day that the Democratic leadership in NY23 delay is a gift to Tom Reed.
Which is a redder district, KY-6 or NY-23?
LET’S GET MOVING!!!!!!!
Lee, people like Arthur do seem to spend a lot of time trying to convince others why they should dislike someone as much as they do. It must be terrible to be so insecure.
Is this Name calling?
Is this Projection?
Is this Passive-aggressive?
Is this ignoring inconvenient facts?
I believe it is.
I expect better of people. Especially in indivisible.
Glad someone is listening, anyway.
It’s just too bad that people prefer to stay in their bubble and can’t get together to discuss their differences over a cup of coffee.
More’s the pity.
Here is a good motto for extreme liberals in Prattsburgh … Never back down!
Lee Marcus “And the voting systems in several states were hacked, so we can’t be certain about the electoral vote.” Lee, we can be absolutely sure about teh electoral votes. You are implying that we can’t be sure about the general votes cast by registered voters.
From the LA Times
“While the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign has been known for months, it was the first time U.S. officials have said how many states’ electoral systems were targeted.
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the officials said none of the digital intrusions affected the parts of electoral systems that counted votes — but that they expect Russia to keep trying.
“I hope the American people will keep in mind Russia’s overall aim is to restore its power and prestige by eroding democratic values,” said Bill Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s counter-intelligence division.
Priestap said the hackers successfully copied data from some states “to understand what it consisted of” and to plan future attacks.”
I would appreciate it if all of the Hillary Clinton supporters would please take the time to list all of the things that Hillary has done for us while serving as a US Senator and in the Obama Administration.
If I may make some alternative suggestions ….
List Trump’s accomplishments since inaugurated. Exclude Gorsuch. That was McConnell’s doing.
List the number of divisive statements Trump has issued over the last week or month or year or lifetime.
List the number of lies Trump has told since he was inaugurated. (a number would be easier)
List all the lies in Trump’s Phoenix speech.
List the names of people who used to be in Trump’s administration, but who are no longer there.
List the number of offensive comments Trump has made since President / since beginning his campaign.
List the number of personal bankruptcies Trump has executed.
List the number of Republican Senators who have been attacked by Trump….
List the number of investigations into Trump’s campaign.
Or make up your own Trump list!
I asked for something that should be very easy for the Hillary supporters; a list of her accomplishments while in public office.
This post was not about Trump. Trump has never held public office until now.
Comparing someone’s accomplishments while in the private sector to someone’s accomplishments while in public office is an apples to oranges comparison.
You sound like you are not a fan of Hillary or her campaign. Please just let the Hillary supporters respond to my specific request. Thank you
August 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm
Arthur, unfortunately you are so closed minded it is impossible to have an open and honest discuss or debate with you. However, I will always defend your Right to spew forth you closed minded nonsense. Good day sir.
I try and you bail !
I have stated that Clinton was a terrible candidate and received quite a bit of grief for my opinion.
It seems that others, including Donna Brazile, share my opinion.
Points of interest….
The election was over 1 year ago this week.
The Clinton campaign never did a post mortem. Nobody agrees on why she lost.
We keep relitigating it, when we should be looking to the future.
With a year to go (counting down) to the mid term elections, there is no Democratic message outlining a path forward.
People will need more than a protest candidate to vote against Reed.
The lack of a coherent message will not help the Dems.