Wednesday, August 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Postal Service still gets a stamp of approval

By
From page A8 | February 19, 2013 |

Disclaimer: I won’t pretend that I can write in an entirely impartial manner about the United States Postal Service or hide my fond feelings for the P.O.

After returning from World War II, my high-school-educated dad found a way off the farm and into the middle class by working as a letter carrier for 44 years. Before ZIP codes and motorized routes, he walked a city route of up to 12 miles daily, often carrying the legal limit of 35 pounds of mail in his tan leather satchel.

His shift always began early, in the gloom of night. In South Texas, he was spared from the snow, but the heat was staggering, and my earliest associations with the Postal Service include the indelible, hearty stench of starch and sweat as my dad reached the end of his appointed rounds.

Furthermore, I grew up near the close of an era – not that long ago – when the average American home had neither a telephone nor a TV, and the Postal Service served as a dependable physical and psychological connection to the outside world.

Imagine! A 250-year-old system that is still able to deliver within a few days an envelope with a hastily scribbled address from any location in the nation to any other, from downtown New York City to the wilds of Montana, for only 46 cents. And the Postal Service does this at the rate of around 175 billion – that’s “billion,” with a “b” – pieces of mail per year, six days per week.

Or maybe five. This month, the Postal Service announced plans to discontinue Saturday delivery, beginning in August. The postmaster general says this move will save the service about $2 billion per year.

For all I know, this is a sound business decision, although when it was proposed in 1957, I remember my dad shrugging his shoulders and pointing out that you still have to take the extra mail out on Monday. Still, for citizens who maintain a nostalgic affection for the post office – or who depend on it for the regular, efficient and economical delivery of letters, packages and prescriptions drugs – it’s an ominous sign.

In the face of reduced mail volume brought on by email, the Internet and competition from private delivery services that naturally focus on the most profitable low-hanging fruit, is it possible that the post office has begun the diminished-services death spiral that will result in its elimination?

Before we write it off completely, take a look at Jesse Lichtenstein’s “Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office?” in the February issue of Esquire. In more detail than I can manage here, Lichtenstein argues that even though the Postal Service doesn’t receive taxpayer money, many of its problems are the result of mandates by Congress that prevent it from operating more efficiently. But even if it could be run entirely like a business, would we want it to?

The fact is, as electronic as our world has become, we’re still very fond of stuff, physical artifacts that can be held and handled, birthday presents and Valentine’s Day cards with real notes and signatures. Online shopping makes a lot of sense, but the actual, physical stuff has to get to you somehow.

Of course, there are other ways to get it there. But free-market solutions will never be able to do what the Postal Service does – and, no doubt, what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they set it up as a “service,” rather than a profit center – which is to connect every citizen, rich and poor, to every other, no matter how remote, for the same egalitarian price.

We have to be practical. But it’s hard to think of an institution that has done more to create and perfect our union or that serves as a better symbol for our finest democratic aspirations. It’s a mistake to assume that its demise is inevitable or desirable.

John M. Crisp teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Email jcrisp@delmar.edu. 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensFebruary 19, 2013 - 9:17 am

    Congress violates its Article One responsibilities every day of the week. Liberals complain the US Constitution is ''outdated'' and ''archaic''. If thats the case, then the Article One Section 8 Clause 7 requirement for a post office and postal roads can be ignored or amended to abolish and privatize the US Post Office. Enough is enough. Government Postal Managers are unable to cost effectively run and manage the Postal Service, so action is required. Liberals and their leader in the White Hut just want to dump more money and not reform the Postal Service.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Walnut Grove: Fun facts, things to see

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1

 
Ryde Hotel: A speakeasy from the past

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Walnut Grove shows a bit of historic Japan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano County supervisors get raise

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

Solano helps after Napa quake

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Weather for Aug. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

Solano supervisors declare quake state of emergency

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
 
Solano promotes hand washing

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Golf tournament to benefit college sport’s teams

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A6

 
Man steals car from Fairfield resident

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
Learn about local travel opportunities

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Solano College to host college transfer fair

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A6

 
Pierce Brosnan thriller kicks off week’s new films

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Museum guild schedules trip to historic San Francisco home

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A8

 
 
3 die in I-680 crash; 2 from Vacaville

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 24, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 24, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 25, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Napa quake stirs clamor for warning system

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
American woman held hostage in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Putin and Poroshenko meet for bilateral talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
Group files petition to idle coastal nuke plant

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Israel, Hamas agree to open-ended Gaza cease-fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
Los Angeles schools halt iPad deal amid criticism

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Report finds 1,400 children exploited in UK town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
Police: Slain woman ID’d ex-deputy as her attacker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Officials: Instructor accidentally killed by girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
Judges blast Indiana, Wisconsin gay marriage bans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

UN panel: Global warming human-caused, dangerous

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Obama defends handling of veterans affairs issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 2 Comments

Arab strikes in Libya show impatience with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
AP sources: US surveillance planes fly over Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 2 Comments

.

Opinion

Abandoned carts are everyone’s responsibility

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 4 Comments

 
Editorial cartoons for Aug. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Question of the week: Is US policy on hostages correct?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Obama risks alienating Latinos from Dems

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
How to reduce taxes without busting the budget

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

We were good parents. Why won’t our adult children help us out?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 27, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

Choosing chutney

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B7

 
Banishing the blues with healthy blueberry muffins

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Women talk about sports on CBS Sports Network

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Miley Cyrus’ date wanted by Oregon police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NBC’s Emmycast logs robust 15.6 million viewership

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Prep football preview: Indians positive heading into 2014 season

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Serena Williams beats American teen at US Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Carter’s HR in 8th leads Astros over A’s 4-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
US teen Bellis, 15, stuns Cibulkova at US Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Raiders CB DJ Hayden to start season on PUP list

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers prepare for possible Aldon Smith suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Bumgarner flirts with perfection, finishes with 1-hitter in Giants win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
No reason to feel sorry for Jim Furyk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

TMS 2015 schedule springs back to night race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Love struck: Kevin Love pledges commitment to Cavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sarkisian: USC looking into Shaw’s heroic story

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Davis, US men beat Slovenia in basketball exhibition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Latest Astrodome proposal: massive indoor park

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

UN health agency urges crackdown on e-cigarettes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Survey: US consumer confidence near a 7-year high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Burger King buys, plans expansion of Tim Hortons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Nadine L Wetherell

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Frank W. Moy Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Lyle Cullum

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Gary Allen Person

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Florentino”Paul” Castaneda Bersola

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6