Politics usually seem far removed from daily life, but we elect and send those people off to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento. And, through all the scandals of the Trump administration, one government service that seemed immune to politicization was the post office. It was only a matter of time, I guess. Today it, too, is under siege and the barbarians at the gates are people we elected to represent us. For me, the post office represents us better.
I played tennis with a mailman. He scheduled matches carefully because he did on-foot routes and needed to conserve his strength. He bid on routes that allowed him to service the elderly and his supervisor constantly counseled him about taking too much time. Take a driving route instead? During his career, though, my friend saved several lives because he took the time to get to know his customers and when they weren’t around, he’d find out why. In his late 70s, he’s still a walking postal carrier, proud and undaunted.
I used to swing by the San Andreas post office at least twice a week. Had to get my Enterprise on Thursdays, and, of course, pick up our Amazon orders. But part of the routine was to joke with Dwight. He was always there dispensing postal dogma in his stentorian tone. When he handed me a shipment, I’d feign eagerness, “For me?”
Dwight would laugh. “Not unless your name is Jane.”
It was just banter, but I always left feeling good.
That, for a majority of us, is what the postal service does best; makes us feel good. In the turmoil that has been the 2000s, it has been a constant. Like government, it’s not a business. It’s a service, and I don’t know anyone who begrudges its supposed drain on our national coffers. Its detractors, mostly politicians, scream that it is losing money, but those same supposed public servants have no trouble giving trillions to the Pentagon for their constant wars-for-profit. Like the weather and taxes and other not-so-pleasant aspects of life, the efficient post office was always something we could count on.
Trump knows nothing of the workers mentioned above. He knows nothing of what they do and who they help. By his actions he has proven that he simply does not care. It was no shock that Trump’s new Postmaster General was a huge donor. What was unsettling was the fact that his crony appointee and wife have invested millions in companies competing directly with the U.S. Postal Service. Running the post office into the ground benefits them personally. As a bonus, Trump freely admits to hoping to damage the mail so he can stop mail-in voter fraud.
The administration removed mail processing machines that can process thousands of envelopes an hour. We had two such machines where I used to work.
Some of your insurance policies and premiums zipped along their belts. Cameras filmed the whole blinding process so the company could prove to customers, and the courts, that time-sensitive mail had been sent to a given address by simply slowing down the video of a given day. Postal workers delivered those envelopes. In the 15 years since I retired, I don’t know how much mail technology has changed but I am positive it has improved the process, not destroyed it, which seems to be Trump’s strategy for rigging another presidential election.
Our California District 4 representative is Tom McClintock. He lives closer to his constituents and should understand the disconnect his blind allegiance to Trump and the Republican party has caused back in his district. At least he would know if he lived in our district. McClintock thinks that being from a heavy red district, and being in lockstep with a lunatic president, makes him a shoe-in for re-election just like Trump thinks that his criminal activities will be ignored and his base will re-elect him.
The man abetting Trump’s frantic, blatant attempt to stop mail-in/absentee voting and steal an election was not voted in by us, but McClintock was. In today’s volatile world, we can’t afford to send someone to Congress who will just rubber stamp the party line. Parties change as do constituency needs. Rep. Tom McClintock kisses Trump’s ring not for our benefit but for his own. Execution-by-presidential-tweet worries him more than his constituency thinks.
Destroying the postal service for your own gain is as horrifying and ugly as trying to force people to vote in person during a pandemic. Such self-serving is immoral, at best, but coming from the halls of Congress it is, to use Secretary Clinton’s word, “deplorable.” It is time to let our representatives know that we won’t stand for Trump’s betrayal of the postal service. It is also time to vote for Brynne Kennedy as District 4 representative.