There are few government institutions more comforting than the United States Postal Service. The high point of my day (even more so during the pandemic) is receiving physical mail by a human, mail-bearing being. Social distancing not withstanding, I get a warm feeling when I see the mail deliverers in their blue-grey uniforms (shorts and high knee socks) accented with red and white stripes.
While currently in isolation-exile in a small New England town, talking through a mask and into a layer of plexiglass to Andy, the local postmaster, is a ritual that, even for a minute, provides me with a tank full of joy. Then there are the stamps; they are so much fun to collect (and use forever). While we can be frustrated when a letter or package goes rogue (or missing) or there's too much junk mail and overdue bills stuffed tightly in the mail box, don't blame the messenger. Just anticipating the arrival of the mail carrier at the box, door or lobby, bringing the so-called "snail" mail, is considerably more pleasant than most daily routines, and less stressful than incessant email pings.
Those days when postal employees actually went "postal" (murderously crazy) are mostly over. Or are they? In the pandemonium of this pandemic election year, President Trump has gone postal. Day after day he is threatening to defund the USPS. Does he want his own stamp? I'm sure he has mulled that over!
As CNN reports, "By directly linking USPS funding to mail-in voting, Trump is fueling allegations that he is trying to manipulate the postal system for political gain. The pandemic has led to record-shattering levels of voting-by-mail, but Trump has tried to restrict the voting method because he says it will hurt his reelection and Republicans across the board."
More, from The Guardian: "The president’s comments also come amid accusations that Louis DeJoy, the new postmaster general and a major Republican donor, is making cuts at the agency to intentionally slow down the mail. There are reports of severe mail delays in places across the country and the Washington Post and other news organizations published internal USPS documents last month saying there was a blanket ban on overtime and that workers were being told to leave mail behind if it will delay them on their routes. A USPS spokesman denied there was a blanket ban on overtime, but did not address questions about whether employees were being told to leave the mail behind."
It is further reported that the internal watchdog at the USPS is reviewing policy changes recently imposed under the misnamed Postmaster General DeJoy, and it is also examining his compliance with federal ethics rules, according to a spokesperson for the USPS inspector general and an aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who requested the review. Lawmakers from both parties and postal union leaders have sounded alarms over disruptive changes instituted by the Trump appointee this summer. Democrats claim he is intentionally undermining postal service operations to sabotage mail-in voting. They have a point.
Stamp out harassment. Support the the postal workers union here.