OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 29: A U.S. Postal Worker monitors packages on a conveyor belt at a processing and distribution center on April 29, 2020 in Oakland, California. U.S. Postal Service workers are continuing to process and deliver the mail amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Postal Service faces an uncertain future with revenues down an estimated 50 percent this year due to the coronavirus crisis. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
By John A. Tures
In the early, 1980s David Brin wrote the novel “The Postman” about an America ravaged by war, economic calamity, and a plague.
A drifter finds a postman’s uniform and letters, and begins delivering them, creating a mail service that he uses to trade for supplies to the small enclaves of Americans he meets, claiming he’s with the fictitious “Restored United States.”
In this post-apocalyptic U.S.A., you get to see how his character, Gordon Krantz, just by performing this service, represents a threat to a local powerful militia (the Holnists), who dominate the people of the Pacific Northwest through their terror tactics. Just by allowing people to communicate and trade, across communities, it builds confidence in the people that the old USA can be rebuilt, and they can actually unite against the authoritarian Holnists.
A movie adaptation was made in the late 1990s. It was panned for being long and unrealistic, though I’ve read social media posts saying maybe we owe Kevin Costner an apology.
The Postal Service has been at the core of the America, even before the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was appointed postmaster general in 1753. And he personally helped supervise the surveying the routes to find the best, most efficient travel paths, while mandating that newspapers be delivered.
Like Brin’s novel protagonist, Franklin realized that Americans would become a community if they shared information, news, and trade. His actions alarmed the British Monarchy, and he was fired by the them for his colonial sympathies.
The Second Continental Congress appointed Franklin as the first postmaster general in 1775. The postal system he set up helped deliver news, unite the Colonies, and communicate our ideas of freedom faster than British ever could correspond, by land or sea. And that’s why the postal system is mandated in Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution which empowers Congress to establish Postal Offices and Postal Roads.
We’ve allowed U.S. soldiers to vote by mail as far back as 1864 during the Civil War, and several states have been conducting entire elections by mail. But there are reports that mailboxes are being removed (since halted), and mail sorting machines are being taken away.
The Postal Service claims “it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the 2020 election will be counted.”
There are claims that the US Postal Service is “losing money,” and “needs to be more efficient” but it is a government agency.
We don’t say the Defense Department or VA are losing money (though the latter is also targeted). Removing mail sorting machines doesn’t sound like efficiency to me either. Now veterans aren’t getting their medicine, people aren’t receiving their paychecks, and businesses will struggle with bills, while forces mobilize against mail-in voting.
In 2016, nearly 40 percent of Americans cast their ballots by mail or voted early. More than 75 percent of Americans are from states that allow mail-in voting, and 64 percent back voting by mail, including 68 percent of independents.
Republicans with a strong history of vote-by-mail for retirees like in Florida back such measures too. Even the President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump vote by mail.
Contact your representative and senator, and demand a postmaster general who’s more like Franklin, with a system that lets all Americans from states where mail-in voting is legal, regardless of political party, express their God-given right to vote this Fall instead of suffering from the machinations of man. Here’s the website:
Opinion contributor John A. Tures is a political science professor at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. His work appears frequently on the views are his own. He can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnTures2.
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