"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Blog Post: Defending the Postal Service

It seems strange to have to write in defense of the U. S. Postal Service, but it's a measure of the depravity of the man in the White House, and how far he's willing to go in his flailing attempt to win another term in office.  Removing sorting machines, removing mailboxes, doing whatever he can to gum up the works of  a service that everyone loves and has never been more essential in this our age of the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming Presidential election.   An election which could well determine the fate and future of democracy in this country.  An election which the person now in office will do anything to win,

It didn't start with COVID-19 and this build-up to the election.  Trump's hatred of Jeff Bezos, who created Amazon, became a billionaire, and bought The Washington Post, one of Trump's most effective critics, led him as early as 2018 to attack the Post Office,  Its crime?  It gave Amazon a good, special rate, a smart move both for Amazon and the Postal Service.

Trump's pretext back then in 2018 was that giving Amazon such a good special rate was bad business for the Postal Service.  But like Amtrak which is also often starving for funds, the Postal Service isn't and was never intended to be a profit-making business.  It is a governmental service provided to the people.  And in the case of the Postal Service, it is a service provided for in our Constitution.

But Trump now has a better reason to starve the Postal Service.  He wants to eliminate mail-in ballots, especially necessary in these COVID times, because he thinks (and polls say) that they will be used by Democratic more than Republican voters. (If we want to entertain a maybe only slightly paranoid explanation, perhaps Trump wants to handcuff the Postal Service because the Russians have told him they haven't come up with a way to hack votes cast through the mail). But whatever his reasoning, crippling the Postal Service is one of the things Trump is doing to win an election which current polls show him badly losing. Attacking the media, lying so often that keeping count is a bad joke, are no longer enough.  The fascistic impulse dictates an escalation of tactics.  Dampen, crush the democratic expression by physical means.  Send Federal troops or whatever exactly are into the streets.  Get in the way of people exercising their right to vote.

There are things we the people can do to oppose this.  Shine a light on it.  Pressure our state governments to provide alternate, safe means of casting ballots, like collection boxes.  But also support our Postal Service in whatever ways we can.   They are not only the carriers of our mail, of birthday cards and holiday greetings that we cherish, but now more than ever are carriers of our democracy.

And some people, who like Jeff Bezos are billionaires, can do even more.  If Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, and Warren Buffet each donated a couple of billion dollars to the Postal Service, that could well enable it to stay whole and functioning through the election.   Fascism triumphs by undermining democratic institutions, eroding the foundations of freedom.   First the press, now the Postal Service, anything that conveys our freedom.   We have a chance to stop this, reverse this, in less than three months.  We have to do all in our power to keep that beleaguered arena for freedom open.

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