Like many Americans I have been much disturbed by various assaults on Constitutional rights of late, but the Postal Service issue has struck me particularly hard.
What consistently gets lost in political debates is the broader notion of nationhood, which is a sine qua non of all other rights (and powers) we may discuss. We freely talk about red and blue states like that’s no big deal. Such talk is dangerous. Maintaining an empire– and the Unites States is, by definition, a collection of separate states– is a dicey operation. In my lifetime I have witnessed the fall of the Soviet empire, and it was not that long ago that France, Spain, and of course England were major empires as well. There is no guarantee that our empire will be here tomorrow.
Using self inflicted budget shortfalls as an excuse to hamper the flow of the United States mail is one of the most egregious threats to the American empire I have seen in my lifetime.
One quick example, as you may or may not know, I publish various programs for orchestral kiddie concerts. A few years back, The Guam Symphony Orchestra called me up and booked the programs. I had to box up about 15 pounds of sheet music and send it half way around the world. But . . . because Guam is part of the United States, all I had to do was saunter over to my local post office, slap about $17 worth of priority mail flat rate postage on the box, and off it went. And I am just one of who knows how many people and companies selling things to Guam (and Hawaii and Alaska).
Without that line of easy communication, it would have cost me what, $200 to ship the same thing? And if enough resistance to commerce built up, perhaps the folks in Guam would get sick of us and ask China to come take things over? This is how empires fall.
Bear in mind I have no love for Jeff Bezos but at the moment, when you buy from Amazon, you aren’t always buying from Amazon. Thousands, perhaps millions, of small cottage industries market their goods on Amazon, but they ship the products themselves. In other words, there are tens or hundreds of thousands of small relatively independent sellers and manufacturers out there, and while UPS does a lot of the shipping, I am willing to bet that the USPS does a whole lot more.
The Romans ruled the Western World because they built roads, the Venetians the British built massive empires because they built ships. Empires are built on ease of commerce. The lines of communication are what make us collectively great. Reducing the speed of the Postal Service is tantamount to blowing up roads and bridges. Commerce cannot occur without the means of transport.
I really try to not be political in my blog posts but this 3rd grade reading level in the White House has gone far enough. You cannot shrink to greatness. Smooth efficient operation of the Postal Service is essential to American commerce, hence American greatness.
© Justin Locke