Ah, the US Post Office. Those of us of a certain age wax nostalgic over the mailman – and they were all men back then – who delivered the mail right to your home. They usually knew you and your family members by name because they’d been doing it for so long. For others, mail delivery has always come in a truck that stopped at the end of the driveway to put the mail into the box there. And for others, mail delivery meant going to the post office to meet and greet friends and pick up your mail.
Having a post office box or a postal address is as critical to life in America today as it was when the men who founded our country put it in the Constitution. It was, they realized, the great equalizer. Then, as now, that it true.
And as an Alaskan who used to live in Bush Alaska, I can tell you this is still true to a greater degree than anyone living in a city can comprehend. For starts, it’s how your medicine gets delivered. That alone should preclude any attempts to limit it in any way. Secondly, not everyone can afford the substitute of FedEx or UPS. Finally, for the homeless, a PO box is a way to stay connected, receive mail and apply for jobs that require a permanent address.
The glory of our postal system is that whether you have a billion dollars or just one, you can afford a stamp and so participate in the service. The danger of destroying this service is that communication will once again become the purview of the rich. This is dangerous given that the rich are those with the resources to write history.
Now you would think that Alaska’s congressional delegation would understand this. After all, most have actually lived in Alaska for varying amounts of time. So how could they have stayed so silent when the man who purportedly leads this country and their party tries to cripple the US Postal Service? I understand that Sullivan and Murkowski have trouble speaking when their lips are so firmly pressed on Trump’s posterior. And let’s face it, Don Young has been impotent and useless for years now. I really think we only re-elect him as a way of funding his old age. But aside from Young voting for the recent postal funding bill passed by the House, he’s done squat to speak up and fight for Alaska on this topic. As for Murkowski and Sullivan, the silence emanating from their camps is deafening. And no, Lisa’s wimpy little wringing her hands in concern statement hardly counts. At least Sullivan is all in with Trump and won’t even comment on the topic.
We need a vibrant and functional postal service. We, in fact, have pretty much had one since the beginning of this country. It brought everything from the Sears and Roebuck catalog to Burpee seeds for your garden. It brought newspapers to people in remote locations. It brought medicine to people with no other access. It brought letters from home and bills from wherever. The postal service has always been an integral part of the fabric of life in this country. Aside from his paranoia that mailed in ballots will be detrimental to his re-election, Trump has absolutely no valid reason to do what he is doing.
In case you were wondering, the number of “voting by mail” frauds are pretty negligible. For that matter, so is any tampering at our polls. But it is only by instilling fear that Trump can justify trying to destroy something that has worked for almost 250 years.
We need a new congressional delegation, preferably one that puts Alaska over party and Alaska’s needs over their re-election prospects. We don’t have that now. What we have are the three little monkeys – see no evil, hear no evil and speak no truth. We can do better than that. We must do better than that. Our democracy is being stolen from us one little piece at a time and our current congressional delegation does little more than wave goodbye as each piece leaves.
Alaska needs better than people willing to dance with any devil to retain power, even as they feel no need to use that power to protect a service critical to life in Alaska.