Leave the Postal Service Alone

From a Google Image Search – Kevin Costner in The Postman – The Comeback

Perhaps you played Post Office when you were kids, not the kissing kind, the role-playing kind, probably done at a younger age. You and your friends set up a little post office and solicited “mail” from parents or friends, borrowed a handbag, and delivered the “mail.”

A Postal Service is a part of any sophisticated nation. Ours already operated in the colonies but began in the American West as the Pony Express. We did not invent mail, but we did come up with a very efficient and reliable postal service. Even the smallest, greenest, or dustiest little town or village had a post office. The US Post Office is an important symbol for Americans. It represents our freedom, our efficiency, our entrepreneurship and our connectedness. Every soldier or war nurse counted on the US mail and it almost always came through. When our Postal Service is healthy, our nation is healthy.

These days there has been plenty of criticism directed at the Post Office. “Why do we need it when we have the internet,” people ask? It’s too expensive. It’s not solvent (because of the overly rigorous qualifications for the pension fund). To the Republicans trying to drastically downsize government it is just another big government agency that needs to be privatized, because for Republicans capitalism rules. US Post Offices are being closed left and right. We notice and it makes us nervous. Not everyone has reliable internet. We have always looked forward to getting our mail. Checks come in the mail, letter, flyers, invitations, cards, catalogs, packages.

Republicans have threatened to “fix” the postal service for years. They hate that postal workers are unionized. They seem to be suspicious of jobs that pay a living wage. They are not happy that Amazon is making the PO a partner with the internet, and thereby making it viable again. Threats are one thing though, Trump has now fulfilled the threats/promises of the Republicans. 

Our US postal service, a legacy from our founders, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump and the Republican Party. Louis DeJoy, a Trump fundraiser has been placed in the Postmaster General position as an acting director, a favorite Trump strategy for bypassing Congress. The entire board of governors is made up of white males, many appointed since Trump took office.

Trump’s timing is questionable to say the least. Just before the 2020 election Trump is making it very clear that he does not want vote-by-mail (unless you live in Florida – what?) To Trump everything, all the time, is about being elected or being able to claim that something was wrong with the election if he loses.

(Of course, now if he starts backing vote-by-mail we will worry that he has a new plot up his clown sleeve. He has managed to demonize vote-by-mail. And I thought he only did this to people, especially women.)

To Trump and his cynical denial that a democracy/republic can work – To Trump and his lack of respect for “we the people” who he sees as ignorant cheaters, workers/serfs/nose-to-the-grindstone cogs in the corporate machine. – To Trump who coopts all America’s symbols and claims them as personal icons, I say:


Little girls jumping rope used to chant:

“Postman, postman, do your duty

Send this letter to an American Beauty

Don’t you stop and don’t delay,

Get it to her right away!” (or another variation)

I went to my Fire Stick and called up The Postman on Amazon Prime. The movie was made in 1997 and stars Kevin Costner. Never known as a great movie, it has become quite timely. America has been devastated by war and disease. General Bethlehem, an authoritarian leader of a survivalist militia, terrorizes the Americans who managed to survive. Costner has no intention of being a hero. He is a loner, just trying to get to a possibly mythical town in Oregon. He ends up sleeping in an old mail truck where there is a dead postman. He steals the uniform and the mailbag and uses the old letters to buy his way into a barricaded town. Somehow, by movie magic, he (and a bunch of teenagers and old men) ends up bringing back the defunct US Postal Service and rebooting America. The Postman’s message is uplifting and surprisingly appropriate to what we are dealing with here, and now. I believe we should edit it to PG-13 and show it somewhere on TV every night until Trump and the Republicans get the message.


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