The United States Postal Service has been in trouble for a long time. With its financial shortfall growing deeper and deeper, something's got to give: Post Offices are sharply reducing their hours and even closing; there is serious talk of ending Saturday mail delivery; and now, another rate increase has been proposed. And here I'm still using up stamps from two rate increases ago.
I'm not going to protest the new postal rate increase (although I think a little more creativity in pricing structures might be helpful). I value the service that the Post Office provides, and I'm willing to pay a fair fare for my mail. I want the USPS to remain solvent.
And so, I propose a project, a small crusade, my own little effort to prop up the postal pillars. I will send something by US Mail every day for a year, and I will write about my efforts here. I actually started this project back in February, but didn't get any blog entries written at that time, and a stressful period derailed my mailing for a couple of months. But if a few people will read and comment on my posts, that will help me continue.
Here is my mail for today: a Make City San Francisco postcard for my brother E. in Ghana. I am mailing it at postcard rate (one 24-cent Common Buckeye stamp, two 2-cent Navajo Jewelry stamps) to Salt Lake City, where it will be bundled with other mail to LDS missionaries in Ghana and delivered by pouch.
Here's what I wrote: "Dear E., 'Summertime, and the livin' is easy . . .' -- Amazing how exhausted and stressed out I can get, considering that my life is, in fact, quite easy. I was enormously relieved and encouraged by the positive outcome of my thesis committee meeting last week, yet I still feel tired and grumpy every morning. Let us all press on, right? I said to A. [3 1/2 years old], 'What should I write to Uncle E. on his mission?' 'A letter,' he said. 'What should I write in the letter?' 'Happy Valentine's Day, okay.' and later: 'Don't forget to watch out for the big bad wolf, okay.' So there you go. I'm happy to hear that you are having better times. May the Spirit continue to be with you. Love, T."
I know perfectly well that my mail-a-day won't make any dent in the Postal Service's $7 billion shortfall. Furthermore, my blog is unlikely to attract attention from enough people to motivate a broad effort. If nothing else, perhaps I'll get more "real" Mail back in my own mailbox, which never fails to brighten my day. If you read and comment on this blog, I will send you mail!
The USPS financial crisis seems like an intractable problem, but who knows? Maybe we can start a postal Renaissance.