Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Fascists


 From Twitter

Newly added to the list of things we never thought we'd be doing in this unbrave new world - explaining Nazis are bad, arguing against drinking bleach, washing our hands 764 times a day, trying to remember the meaning of the terms "human decency," "social contract," "full sentence," and all the other bleak items on our collective "2020 dystopian hellscape Bingo Card" - comes defending the post office, and democracy with it, from a tinpot dictator's assaults depraved effort to sabotage mail service so people can't vote against him, which sounds too insane to be true but here we are. Of course the headline act of his scheme has been the appointment of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump minion so wholly unqualified for the job he doesn't seem to know the post office is a public service, not a greedy grifter's profit-hungry fever dream - and who, it turns out, has voted by absentee ballot in every major election since 2004. In just a few months, DeJoy has made so many sketchy and possibly illegal changes, from firing workers to dismantling mailboxes, that experts say the very survival of postal service, and the electoral process during a pandemic, is at risk.

Still, as Democrats prepare to return to D.C. to enact emergency legislation to stop him - go, Katie Porter - Trump dismisses their pushback as a "con game" - pot/kettle - arguing, "I'm just making (the USPS) good...This has been one of the disasters of the world." No, that would be him. In response, progressive groups are planning nationwide protests on Aug. 22, part of what has become a notably broad swath of resistance, from professional sports teams offering their empty stadiums as polling places to the half-million-plus people who within days joined a Save the Post Office hashtag. Amidst stories of closed post offices, scarce stamps, delayed mail, mailboxes mysteriously locked or piled onto trucks, and furious charges the chaos constitutes "the very definition of voter suppression," many have been galvanized; often, people aim their ire at MIA Mitch McConnell, whose blatant inaction and obscene vacations are fast turning his legislative graveyard into "a literal graveyard." "We see you," warns one enraged critic. From another, to those attacking the post office, "My dad was a letter carrier. If you are calling postal workers liars, you’re doing it wrong." Most endearingly, in tribute to Woody Guthrie, are those patriots across this land that's still and all our land, slapping "This Machine Kills Fascists" stickers on neighborhood mailboxes.

Joining the insurrection are over 300,000 dedicated postal workers who have steadfastly continued working through the pandemic, and who take seriously their motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Both their unions, American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers, have endorsed Joe Biden; they've also embarked on a "grand alliance" to stop Trump from trying to "sacrifice our public Postal Service at the altar of private profit...The U.S. mail is not for sale." They argue Trump's efforts to leverage the coronavirus crisis - from seeking to curtail collective bargaining to cutting jobs - are "a shot to the heart," and they vow to fight them "every step of the way," especially given the upcoming election. Blasting DeJoy as "Delay," union leaders note that if they could deliver 1.3 billion Christmas cards last year, they can handle fewer than 130 million ballots - and they're determined to. "You get those ballots in our hands, we’re going to deliver them," says a local president in Chicago, where one worker has died of COVID and over 70 have tested positive, and returned to work. He adds, "There's a message we want to deliver too" - that nobody's going to steal this election, and they'll do their damndest to help people exercise their right to vote. “This is what we do,” he says. "We deliver the mail."
Talk about intersectionality: Similarly committed to that fight are hundreds of thousands of veterans, who are hired by USPS at three times the national rate, are supported through multiple postal union programs, just as fiercely oppose Trump's efforts to slash jobs and benefits, and daily depend on the mail to get prescription drugs from the V.A. - though today, they charge, tens of thousands aren't getting them on time "because Donald Trump declared war on the mail." Veterans have joined the fray in multiple ways, from a vet in Orange County posting a photo of himself camped by his mailbox - "NOT TODAY, Captain Ouchie Foot" - as part of "veterans saving democracy one mailbox at a time," to a blistering ad from the progressive veterans' group Vote Vets. Starting with old photos of soldiers getting mail from their families back home, they warn, on the subject of Trump messing with that tradition, "We take this VERY personally, and so should you." They describe Trump's offenses - "Firing workers, disrupting deliveries, defunding operations" - as a clear "warm-up for the fall," when he "plans to disrupt absentee ballots and vote-by-mail for millions of Americans in the middle of a pandemic he failed to control." And they deliver a punchline that echoes the letter carriers: "Because Donald Trump knows if the mail delivers ballots to America's veterans, we'll deliver a message right back. You lose."
To help that happen, here are emails for the Postal Service Board of Governors (h/t Laura Davis). Drop a line.





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