Defunding the USPS, And Why It Especially Worries Me

Last week, in a moment much of the country has dreaded, President Trump finally translated his weeks of attacks on mail-in voting into real, tangible action. He no longer has to hide his plans; Trump, in broad daylight, has put into motion his plan to steal the election. And his supporters don’t care. 

Despite four years of controversy and bickering between the left and the right, Trump’s refusal to fund the postal service has left me with the highest levels of anxiety and worry that I have felt throughout Trump’s first term. For years, the USPS has lost money due to the Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act. Passed in 2006, this piece of legislation requires the organization to fund in advance the retirement and health benefits of their employees. Already hemorrhaging billions of dollars on an annual basis, the drop in usage brought about by the pandemic has only worsened the USPS’s situation. A bill is needed to save this institution so critical to the country that it is written into the Constitution. But Trump has refused to sign the bill that would grant the struggling USPS $25 billion in emergency funding.

Failure to fund the USPS has already negatively impacted Americans on a daily basis. I have already read heartbreaking accounts of ordinary Americans describing how this series of events has sent shockwaves through their lives. Diabetics who haven’t gotten their insulin on time. Bills arriving late. Supplies never coming to restaurants and small businesses. In Trump’s selfish grab for power, he has spit in the face of the Declaration of Independence, which grants everyone the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Without the USPS, an owner of a small shop trying to make a name for themselves does not have the liberty to grow their business, and those who need medication are in danger of losing life itself. And no one is happy. 

In addition, defunding the USPS will make it harder for Democrats to vote in the age of COVID-19. Democrats certainly fear the virus more; in a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in June, only 28% of Democrats feel comfortable eating in a restaurant, compared to 65% of Republicans. This poll shows a dramatic difference in opinion, and Trump, knowing that his supporters would have no problems going to the polls, has forced those on the left into a potentially fatal choice: whether to jump through hoop after hoop to safely vote my mail, or potentially expose themselves to the virus by voting in person. Seeing picture after picture of the heaps of USPS boxes being loaded onto trucks around the United States is worrying enough. But the fact that it is so obvious—and that no one has stopped in to stop this as of yet—makes me think that he could actually get away with rigging the election.

Trump launching attacks on mail-in voting does fall into the pattern of he and his administration violating the law and the Constitution. But this attack on mail-in ballots has a direct negative impact on millions of Americans, both now and down the line. Right now, people cannot get critical medicine and supplies on time, and it promises to complicate voting processes as we inch closer to November. How do we remedy this? Request your mail-in ballot right now, receive it, fill it out, and return it directly to your county clerk’s office. No one can trample on our right to make a living, lead a healthy life, and vote.

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