And now to “hammer” away against the latest danger to community and vital and accessible human connections: the closing of hundreds of post offices nationwide and in the communications capital of the world. Give us a protest song about that, Pete Seeger! Or maybe you readers will, and we will sure sing it—all over this town.
And please, let’s call it “real,” not “snail” mail. English poet John Donne, whose “letters mingle souls” words grace the long-ago 10-cent postage stamp series that promoted letter writing, also delivered “spell-binding sermons from church pulpits.” We could sure use some against post office closings and the high cost of postage as a further disenfranchisement of those mostly, but not only, elder persons without Internet, let alone Twitter, Facebook and My Space connections. Donne might well order the Internet/Twitters users to start penning some real letters.
The postal service and conveniently located post offices enable vital connections with so many “close people” living in distant places. Years of letters frequently exchanged between my dad and me, and my mother-in-law and me, did help “mingle our souls,” to quote Donne. Rereading them gives me strength for today.
As for political/civic connections, including letters to the editor, here’s to more “Letters Shape Opinions” stamps and directives. While my concern for letters and the written word may be heightened by my being innately shy and yes, vocally dyslexic, the need couldn’t be more universal in “mingling souls” helpfully and “shaping opinions” democratically.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Liz Krueger and City Council Member Jessica Lappin are among those battling the post office closures. What can we do? Let them know we support them, of course, and echo civic leader Betty Cooper Wallerstein’s call for some government support for the U.S. Postal Service because, “If anything ever deserved a bail-out, this great public service does!”
And stress the Times Aug. 7 business section piece, “It’s Time to Stay the Courier,” which revealed that “Postal Employees have contracts that forbid layoffs.” And can you believe, “Every year between now and 2016, the postal service must put aside $5 billion to finance health benefits for future employees. Not another business in this country finances benefits for employees that haven’t yet been hired….and while expected to operate like a business and turn a profit, it is still subject to Congressional constraints.”
“Hammer” the paper of record, as reporter Joe Nocera concluded that, “As the Internet continues to erode the use of snail mail, does the Postal Service business model still make sense? Do we even need government to deliver the mail? The answer is obviously, no.”
Wh-a-a-at? Where there’s a will, there’s a way, Joe, and overcoming just two of the constraints you found unfair would help provide it.
So do closure plans that ignore the general “population aging” with resulting “mobility decreasing.” Hardest hit are small towns losing their only post office, but especially vulnerable is New York City’s Yorkville area if the Cherokee station on York Avenue shuts down. That’s because Yorkville is said to be the city’s most densely populated residential area and also the one with the most elder residents—anywhere. We’ve got a lot of hammering to do—and against the Internet’s eroding of print newspapers too!
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