Tuesday, December 29, 2020

22 Days to Fresh Start: Privatizing USPS, Moving on from Trump, A New Political Party

 Perry Como, the smooth baritone crooner of 1950s-early 1960s television, often had a segment on his NBC show introduced by the jingle, 

“Letters, we get letters, 

We get stacks and stacks of letters, 

Dear Perry, would you be so kind, 

To fill a request and sing the song I like best.” 

Don’t be alarmed. There’s no link to my singing anything for you. But I have received some “fan” mail recently which I’ve chosen to respond to in this post, along with some comments on what others have written.

1st Up: After my recent lament about the inefficiency of the U.S. Postal Service to deliver a package of books to Omaha mailed December 1, and yet to arrive, Jim opined, “We really need to privatize the Post Office. There is no need to have a government entity handling the mail. It has had major issues when overseen by Democrats, and major issues when overseen by Republicans. A number of European countries have figured this out. As those on the left are always wanting to emulate Europe, I am not sure why they don’t want to in this case.”

The political swipe at the end, notwithstanding, Jim, a public post office is necessary to deliver mail, including medicines, to everyone regardless of how remote their address. Price is the same for everyone. 

In the pursuit of efficiencies and profits a private mail service could reduce or eliminate deliveries or charge exorbitant fees for remote deliveries. Our current system is not perfect but it is a universal investment much like our interstate highway system, our national defense and our national park service. 

You may counter that these areas also should be privatized but I would disagree. Can you imagine what tolls would be on the East Coast and West Coast interstates? Or how we would fare if Blackwater (or whatever it is called now) replaced the military? Or how commercial our national parks would become? 

No, Jim, the post office should be as Ben Franklin imagined it—a national service.

2nd Up: As I continue to write after the election about the way Donald Trump is dismantling norms and our government institutions, Ruth took umbrage, suggesting I “Move on. Biden is your president. Now let us see how he does. You are beginning to sound like a fanatic. Give it a rest and let’s hope this is a better change.”

Ruth was not alone in her thoughts. A few days earlier Steve wondered if after Biden’s inauguration I “will stop talking about Trump? Or will you refer back to Trump for the next four years. Or maybe your hatred has no bounds and we can look forward to your blaming Trump for everything that goes wrong in the entire world for the remainder of your life?” 

I would love to move on, Ruth and Steve, but our fearful leader (for the next 22 days) has shown no inclination to do so. I would hope to never have to mention Trump after Jan. 20. 

But the reality is Biden’s presidency will be engaged in cleaning up the mess Trump left our country: more than 330,000 pandemic deaths from more than 17 million cases, many because Trump failed to warn people about the virus and to take necessary precautions like wearing a mask and not attending mass gatherings; 

Biden will have to repair international relations and America’s reputation that Trump damaged; Biden will have to work double time to repair environmental damage wrought by Trump so we all can live more healthy in the next 30 years; 

Hardly any action Biden takes in the next four years will not be to balance the divisiveness Trump sowed in this country. So yes, Trump will be mentioned by me and any other honest commentator on the state of America.

3rd Up: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently hoped “principled conservatives” will bolt the Republican Party and start their own political organization (https://nyti.ms/34CKeTO). 

I disagree.

If anyone should start a new political party it should be the Trumpians. Principled Republicans should not move away from the heritage of the Grand Old Party that gave us presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan as well as numerous senators of national esteem. 

In a more practical sense, the Republican and the Democratic Parties enjoy the two top lines on election ballots. It would be political suicide for principled Republicans to cede their ballot spot to a party led by Trump. 

4th Up: What do the following two stories say about our country? Nothing good, in my opinion.

“Minnesota town approves a whites-only Nordic heritage church”


“University of Michigan claims ‘picnic’ and ‘blacklist’ are offensive”