The U.S.P.S.

As a writer, I depend on the U.S. Postal Service. It carries my submissions to publishers and brings me responses. It also delivers to me copies of all the books I review. On the personal side, it handles mail between me and my children and, perhaps most important, letters between me and a former Navy Corpsman who cared for wounded Marines in combat during the Vietnam war. This man and I have been corresponding for over three years; we’ve each sent the other more than 300 letters.

I have relied on the post office all my life and have never been disappointed—until last May. That’s when President Trump ordered the U.S.P.S. board of governors to appoint one of his major contributors, Louis DeJoy, to the job of Postmaster General and commanded him to slow down the mail so that vote-by-mail wouldn’t work to defeat Trump in the November election. Ever since, mail deliveries have been erratic. Some days I get no mail at all, and my outgoing letters are not picked up from my mailbox. Other days the box is stuffed to overflowing. It sometimes takes two weeks for my letter to reach my corpsman friend or for his to reach me.

Nor is there likely to be any solution soon. The Postmaster General is not appointed by the president but by the U.S.P.S. board of governors, now made up entirely of Trump appointees. The president does choose members of the board, but he has to wait until their term of office expires. He can only fire a board member “for cause”—not likely anytime soon.

So we’re stuck with poor mail service for the foreseeable future. One more curse laid on us by Trump.

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