The West Coast is burning. COVID-19 is raging. There are protests galore and some have turned into riots. Police are caught between dealing with video evidence of unjustified shootings and the demand to provide protection for lives and property.
The weather is wild. La Niña is building in the equatorial Pacific. Tell-all books are coming out at a dizzying rate.
School is on the kitchen table. Work is on the kitchen table. The revised budget is on the kitchen table. There’s no place to eat dinner because life is all over the kitchen table. Somewhere in the middle is a presidential election and a decision on mailing in or showing up.
Just in case the answer is “no,” let’s talk a bit more about that mailing in option and about what is going on with the United States Postal Service. For some reason, the people now in power think their political cause is best served by preventing the mail from going through. Rumors say it has to do with throwing doubt on ballots that are mailed in and perhaps preventing them from arriving in time to get counted.
For rural America, getting the mail in a timely manner is about a lot more than mailing in a ballot.
Most communities don’t have enough population to worry about crowds at the polls on election day and probably aren’t too concerned about mailing in their ballot. But boy howdy are they worried about getting prescriptions, social security checks, baby chicks that are still alive and far more.
The post office is the very identity of some of our rural towns, and residents have gone to bat repeatedly to keep their office from closing. In the era of internet and virtual meetings, the post office has not become less relevant; it’s become more necessary than ever.
As the pandemic continues, more Americans are relying on making purchases of necessary supplies online. They depend on the post office for delivery of those orders. With children being schooled at home, the Postal Service is how they get books and other supplies.
The national news media has pretty much moved on after revealing that the current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a political appointee whose private sector business ties are actually competitive with the Postal Service, is dismantling the very agency he is supposed to be leading.
He’s cut hours, ordered mail to be left on the floor, dismantled and removed high-speed sorting machines from post offices and reduced the work force. He has even suggested in a hearing before Congress that he doesn’t see a problem with cutting service back to two or three days a week to many small towns.
Rural America needs to speak up early and often to let all our Congressional representatives and senators know that we need our post office and depend on daily mail delivery. With the fast-moving news cycle bringing us a new barrage of concerns, it’s easy to let this issue get buried.
We can’t let that happen. If we don’t act now, it may soon be too late. Call, email, write.