It’s nothing new. We saw it when Trump denounced illegal aliens, and the Resistance discovered immigration. When they were reminded that this wasn’t a new thing, that President Obama was pretty big on deporting what were then known as illegal immigrants and none of them knew, no less gave a damn, the excuses gushed like blood from an artery. But that didn’t change the fact that this terrible thing had been happening all along and they never cared before.
The outrage of the moment is the United States Postal Service. I use it. I appreciate it. I remember when we got two deliveries a day, when stamps were cheap and when a first class letter was sent one day and arrived the next.
But over the course of the past decade, the USPS has suffered as people stopped writing letters, paying bills by snail mail, and suffered competition. Postal boxes were disappearing, Costs were being cut. Services increasingly sucked and the cost of a stamp (that’s a little square thing that goes on the corner of an envelope) skyrocketed.
And yet, the post office is suddenly on everybody’s mind now that Trump is destroying the postal service to prevent mail-in voting because he’s going to lose if more people vote. Is that a serious threat?
President Trump has threatened to withhold funds from the United States Postal Service. The new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has embarked on cost-cutting measures to eliminate overtime and remove sorting machines. These actions have created worries that Americans, reluctant to walk into voting booths because of Covid-19, will be unable to vote by mail this year.
I served as a regulator of the Postal Service for nearly 18 years under three presidents and I urge everyone to be calm. Don’t fall prey to the alarmists on both sides of this debate. The Postal Service is not incapacitated. It is still fully capable of delivering the mail. The focus of our collective concerns should be on how the Postal Service can improve the speed of delivery for election mail.
Old guys like me love the mail. Not because it’s used to deliver “vital medication,” or relied upon by eBay sellers and online businesses. Sure, as a lawyer, I serve papers that way, but if the postal service disappeared, service would happen some other way, just as packages would be delivered by one of its competitors. I love the mail because it’s really quite magical. It’s amazing that merely by putting a stamp on an envelope, it finds its way to Harry Jones in Bumfuck, Nowhere. The number of things, the infrastructure, the hands, fingers and lives that touch that letter between here and there are amazing. And, except when my letter (or package) disappears and nobody can tell me why, it’s a wonderful thing.
But the woke kids losing their heads over Trump’s destruction of the postal service? Spare me. They didn’t care about it, use it or even know where to buy a stamp before this became more proof that Trump is as bad as he’s always been. And the day after the election, they will never care about whether there’s a mailbox on the corner again.
After the election, who will care whether USPS exists? It's not like most of you send snail mail anymore. Hell, most of you don't even know where to buy a stamp.
— Scott Greenfield (@ScottGreenfield) August 18, 2020
The replies are adorable, even if they mostly failed to grasp the point of the twit because outraged partisans aren’t usually careful readers. I care about the post office, though I’m not unaware of the fact that it’s an expensive and complex operation that hasn’t worked well for decades and will continue to struggle to be self-sustaining in light of competition, expenses and the fact that few young people actually use it.
When is the last time you sent anyone a handwritten letter? Thank you note?
I still write letters. I send handwritten thank you notes on heavy cardstock (I have both personal and business card stock, as appropriate), I keep a roll of stamps in my desk to put on the envelopes, which I then put in my mailbox, raise the red flag, and the mailman takes it away to do his voodoo. But the disingenuousness of this sudden passion for the postal service, no matter what the expense or how long the USPS has been trying to stay alive, doesn’t mask the fact that few* of the overnight mail experts cared a whit before or will ever touch a mailbox again when this is over.
And when was the last time you saw anyone lose their head over undocumented immigrants? Funny how so few of the unduly passionate care about them anymore, and it’s back to just those of us who cared before and will still care when the next president takes office.
*Yes, of course some of you will reply, “but that’s how I get my meds, “I sent a thank you note last week.” or “my business relies on the postal service.” This isn’t about you, or about my hating the postal service.