All my life, in work and in leisure, I’ve depended on the U.S. Postal Service.
Whether paying bills or sending out birthday and anniversary cards to friends and relatives, I’ve turned to the post office to deliver those payments and messages, with self-assurance each task was completed. I was never disappointed. The post office always came through.
The postal service has a sterling record of accomplishment. Only once in three-quarters of a century of use did the post office fail me. Their scanner read my AL in the mailing address and sent the package to Alaska, not Alabama as intended. The documents arrived late, having gone north to Alaska first, but all came out OK in the end.
For me, the post office has been a steady source of dependence. Knowing this, it is impossible for me to imagine a future without our postal service. But if President Trump gets his way and a majority in Congress agrees, the postal service could get dumped or replaced with a disorganized hot mess.
Somehow or other, we’ve got to get strong words to our representatives in Congress to do what is necessary to keep the postal service intact and operating. They need to find the money in the billions wasted each year by Congress to keep the postal service and its retirement system afloat.
Simply put, the postal service is too important to our nation to be a pawn in White House and Capitol Hill shenanigans. It must endure intact, with no major alterations to its fundamental task.
The great founding fathers Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others set up the postal service at the Second Continental Congress as a way to keep Americans informed about their young nation. They wanted a free flow of information to crisscross the American colonies as the country grew.
Franklin volunteered to serve as our first postmaster, and the new postal service served that founding purpose admirably. As the early leaders imagined, the scope and importance of the postal service’s mission expanded as the nation moved westward.
As an example from my time, the U.S. mail delivered the bill to my parents a few weeks after I was born three-quarters of a century ago. The Selective Service System mailed me my draft notice for the Army by postal letter. A girl friend dumped me with a brief message on a post card. I learned my college had accepted me as a freshman by letter.
Stop for a second and think of the important notices and messages delivered to you by the postal service. With these thoughts in mind, perhaps you can understand why the Postal Service is so necessary to everyday life. It cannot be dismantled or starved of money until it perishes.
We know why President Trump is furious with the postal service. It delivers packages for Amazon. He claims that’s why it’s failing. It’s not charging Amazon enough dough.
The truth is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post newspaper, which is one of the president’s biggest and most vocal critics. That fact no doubt plays a big part in the president’s twisted desire to punish the postal service.
Trump wants to use the postal service to strike back at Bezos, even though Amazon is paying the postal service a pretty penny to assist in its deliveries.
We all know the post office is short on operating cash and retirement income because of the Internet. E-mail and e-bills have pretty much wiped out social letters and notices and the enormous revenue from them.
Sites like Facebook combined with online payments to utilities, banks and credit card companies have drained away much of that revenue. But the postal service was never set up to make a profit, and there is less demand for delivered mail when electronic substitutes are at our fingertips.
But, if we allow out leaders to act hastily and damage the postal service, the day will come — and soon — when we will regret this action.
President Nixon didn’t care much for the postal service either. He launched financial reforms and reorganizations that helped put the postal service on the road to failure. America has had to bail out the postal service several times to keep it going. But all these rescues have been worth the cost.
There is no more efficient department within the federal government than the postal service. And so, we need to keep it out of the national debate. It should not be the fall guy for incompetent reorganizations. Congress should fund the postal service’s shortfalls, just like we do other federal programs and organizations.
Our founding fathers wanted Americans to hold and to read solid documents of proof of what the nation was doing and who it was electing. We still get that information today by holding and reading solid sources, like our Villager newspaper, that we can trust and believe in.
The postal service is just that — a service. But it’s a very vital service, one far too important to be the constant topic of disgruntled politicians always on the lookout for others to blame.
The federal government wastes billions of dollars annually on failing programs and pork-barrel politics. The post office is neither spoiled pork nor just another federal failure. It is just as important as national defense — and in some ways more important. As a matter of fact, the postal service hires more military veterans than any other business or organization in existence.
Nations around the world envy our postal service and its sterling record of meeting and fulfilling its purpose. How sad a day it will be when if we allow it to disappear.
Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.