Winchester: Tuesday (Apr. 11, 2001).
My Dearest America:
You are inimitable, irresistible. You poor creature! Such a leader, as you have lately! Such a shocking display! But you are worth your weight in gold, or even in the new "golden" coinage.
I cannot express to you what I have felt in reading of your recent election -- how full of pity and concern I have been! It was the antithesis of all I had understood of The Government of the Former Colonies, and was disheartening and terrifying, sad and provoking. Who can keep pace with the fluctuations of your democracy, the capprizios of your republic, the contradictions of your constitutional principles? It is so odd -- so peculiar!
Mr. Bush frightens me. He will have power. He seems to wish to attack the whole planet. It would be too stupid and shameful to think of him otherwise; and all the world is certain of this after making his acquaintance these past months.
I have some faith in Mr. R. Gephardt's abilities, and in Mr. T. Kennedy's; and I hope they will be true.
Do not imagine that I have any real affection for Mr. B; I have taken a rather violent disliking to him, and I do like the house for Democrats in 2002. I only do not like that you should have to wait so long, and yet I do wish you to be prepared, because I know you will never be happy until Mr. B is out of your life forever.
You have been much on my mind these last months. I do not like your being nervous, and so apt to cry out -- it is a sign that things are not at all well; but I hope Mr. Shrub -- as you always write his name (your writings about the insufferable Mr. Shrub amuse me very much) -- will neither do you, nor the rest of us, any irreparable harm.
What a comfort though that Pres. A. Gore should have won so handily! It was more than we dared hope for. I can easily believe he was so very patient and very good despite the extreme provocation of your Mr. Shrub and his cohorts.
As you suggested previously, I have contributed to the marking of Pres. G's Birthday missive -- although tardily -- and hope he will receive it as testimony to the tender regard of many.
It grieves me thoroughly that Mr. B was cross-as-crabs, and insisted on assuming your nation's highest office under such detestable circumstances. (Yet, how like him!) It is, as you said, beyond bearing! But you did not choose to have him yourself, so why not take comfort in that? In your conscience you know that you could never exalt one of such malevolent character. You cannot forget how you felt under the threat of its having been possible that he might speak to the entire world on your behalf. You were quite beside yourself!
My dearest America, I cannot bear that you should blame yourself. Think of his principles; think of his brother's objectionable behavior, of taint of money, of a duplicitous mother, of Mrs. K. Harris, of snakes parading about in black robes!
But I am doing no good. No, all that I remark against him will serve only to increase your melancholy, my sweet, sweet America.
So instead I will tell you that we like your Congressional Black Caucus (what a quaint name for heroes!), to the very top of the glass, quite brimful. They are a very pleasing bunch; I do not see how they could be mended. They really do bode well for everything your forefathers wished for you. And your Congressional Progressive Caucus I love very much indeed, and so we do all; they are quite your best hope.
Pres. Clinton is also in excellent looks, has enjoyed a hero's welcome of late in our former colony, India, and seems perfectly well. You will have to nurture in your heart such warming images, to bear what you must in the coming months. (I confess the absence of a true leader like Pres. C will be never made up to me. My affection for him makes Mr. B but a desolate substitute, the palest of malformed shadows.)
I know you fear all is slipping away, but fear not! It will be set right, however, it may take time! Poor America! You have never been the most patient of souls, and you must understand that about yourself. There is ahead much work to be done, and you must not expect miracles all at once, but rather commit to the tedious work of opposing each evil plot, as it is first revealed, until you achieve a step-wise return of your popular will.
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NEXT: JANE AUSTEN (NOT AUSTIN) PART II