03:26:09 am on
Saturday 05 Dec 2020

Mail Heist
AJ Robinson

When I was a young, I was interested in collecting stamps. My dad had a collection. I found his stamps fascinating.

A stamp cost a billion Marks.

There were bright colourful stamps, some from far off lands and the stamps from Germany, during the Great Depression, of the 1930s, were downright incredible. Germany was suffering hyper-inflation and it got to the point where a single postage stamp cost a million and even billions, yes, you read that right, billions of Marks.

Collecting stamps, I learned of the US Postal Service (USPS). The first article of the Constitution set up the USPS. Benjamin Franklin, who saw the critical purpose of the USPS, was the first Postmaster General.

Moreover, there was a time when you could send a letter just about anywhere for only a few pennies. This was the 1870s. Life was more reasonable and saner in those days.

As a child, I found the story of the Pony Express particularly thrilling. Here were these young men racing across the American West with a bundle of letters in a saddle bag, sometimes having to fight off bandits, native tribes and the elements, all in the name of simply delivering the mail.

The Pony Express ran (sic) from 3 April 1860 to 24 October 1861. Its route was between Missouri and California. I remember reading, in a history book, an old advertisement the Pony Express ran looking for the riders.

It specifically asked for orphans, as the job was extremely hazardous. The Pony Express did not expect its riders to last long. Their mortality rate was high.

I thought of those riders the other day. Men, most of them barely out of their teens, racing across the Great Plains, trying to get the mail to its destination. I thought of them because it saddened me to see Trump, again, attacking one of our cherished and most fundamental institutions, the USPS, and, worst of all, his minions backing him up or staying silent.

Trump has called the media the enemy of the people, attacked the FBI and various intelligence agencies as being either part of the Deep State or incompetent, and insulted or demeaned anyone and anything that dares to contradict or stand up to him. Now, suddenly, out of the blue, he’s saying the Post Office needs to be re-structured because it is losing money.

Mail-in ballots triggered need for re-structuring USPS.

Curious as to how Trump didn’t start talking of re-structuring until people were calling for mail-in ballots. After all, he’s been in office for nearly four years and never once spoken on this subject. Mind you, Republicans get as many or more mail-in votes as do the Democrats, but try telling The Great Orange that tiny fact.

His little political hack, Louis DeJoy, is firing people, shutting down and dismantling high-speed sorting machines, removing mailboxes from street corners or literally padlocking them. You can see pictures of that happening online. Think about that for a moment.

Undermined is our ability to mail a letter because one conman is desperate to win an election. Of course, I’m sure he’ll spin it another way to his minions. Let’s see, what will be his excuse? Ah, I know, the Democrats refuse to negotiate a deal to properly fund the Post Office and, thus, he has no choice but to shut operations down.

Oh, and let’s not forget that the USPS does more than merely handle letters. Think of the packages that many people rely on; the medications, food and countless other vital supplies that come by mail. Delivery of those items slows and not one word of complaint.

What is also amazing is that Trump is perfectly fine with using a mail-in ballot himself and he says that absentee ballots are great. Who will tell him these ballots are the same? Of course, it wouldn’t matter, he wouldn’t believe it or care.

That leads to more sorrow, as I do not hear anyone pointing that out. Not one Trump minion, no one in the media; nobody sees the heresy. Where does that take us? Unfortunately, all I see is yet another blow to our great Republic.

We will survive.

To be honest, I don’t know, which is the saddest part of all. Right about now, I think I’d trade places with one of those Pony Express riders. Frankly, their lives were less dangerous than our lives in these turbulent times.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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