Neither Snow Nor Rain…..The US Postal Service

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Neither Snow Nor Rain……The US Postal Service

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds’. Herodotus

I grew up with this quote. It summons up visions of brave postal workers trudging through inclement weather conditions.  For more than a century,  it’s been synonymous with the tireless work the postal service does to make sure you get your junk mail, magazines, and birthday cards on time. 

This quote was inscribed in the NY Postal Building in Manhattan  in 1912. Architect William Mitchell Kendall was a classics scholar in both architecture and words. It comes from Herodotus, Book Eight of the Persian Wars. Herodotus was impressed with the fast travel of the Persian couriers.

When the Constitution established the postmaster-general position, the Founding Fathers were worried about how to get the new nation’s increasing volume of mail delivered. A system had been developed in the colonies, in which merchants, slaves and Native Americans would pass letters and parcels from person to person until they reached their destinations. That soon gave way to  mail carriers who traveled via horse and stagecoach and later locomotives and airplanes.

In January 1913, one Ohio couple took advantage of US Postal Service’s new parcel service to make a very special delivery: their infant son. The Beagues paid 15 cents for his stamps and an unknown amount to insure him for $50, then handed him over to the mailman, who dropped the boy off at his grandmother’s house about a mile away. People who mailed their children weren’t handing them over to a stranger. In rural areas, many families knew their mailman quite well.

It has always been  a system of trust. Today, though email and Amazon have replaced a lot of their job, it  is still our most trusted organization.

The 2020 election will definitely not look like any other election in American history.  A record number of states will allow for expanded early voting options including vote by mail.  Although mail balloting, sometimes known as absentee voting, has been around since  the Civil War, it has come under new scrutiny this year as Trump has claimed that this type of voting is open to fraud.  This is not true.

 What we should be worried about, is whether Trump’s Post Office can handle the influx of ballots with all the recent budget cuts. There are tight deadlines on when ballots must be received. Most require the ballot to be postmarked on or before Election Day and they must be received by the Board of Elections within 7 days of the election.  The mail is already backlogged. Imagine what it will look like with a hundred million mail in ballots.

Make sure you vote as early as possible. If you can, go to the post office instead of putting it in a blue box (which is as sanitary as anything else you touch), drive to the mail-in location, or drop it off the day of at your polling place. Don’t wait until the last minute. This year we need to work with the Postal Service,  like the  Founding Fathers did in the colonies to make sure letters got to their recipients. “We are Americans. We get the job done.” (I have to stop rewatching Hamilton).

Stay safe,

JAZ

Eight Good Reasons To Vote

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Eight Good Reasons To Vote

“Following the close of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” He answered, “A republic, if you can keep it!”

Voting is a privilege. If you are not a white male land owner, chances are good that someone fought for your right to vote. If you live in America, you were either lucky enough to be born with it or lucky enough to earn it.

You can complain with integrity. You can justifiably complain about your elected officials if you speak out as a voter.

Voting is a responsibility. The USCIS Guide to Naturalization says, “Citizens have a responsibility to participate in the political process by registering and voting in elections.” In the naturalization oath, new citizens swear to support the Constitution of the United States, and voting is an integral part of that Constitution.

Because you still believe in the Constitution – even if there are flaws. The right to vote is mentioned more often in the Constitution than anything else. Perhaps the mentality was that voting was a privilege and it needed to be a right. For a long time it was only the “right people” who could vote. This is something we are so adamant about when we see it in other countries. Our vote may not seem so important to us now but we would be so much worse without it.

Because every vote counts! If you don’t like the current administration, choose a candidate that you think can win the election.

Higher turnout makes our democracy more representative. You still should vote in your election, because even if the candidate you loathe is destined to win in a landslide, you can make a dent in their margin of victory. Officials who are elected in close elections are reminded of it constantly.

If you don’t vote, you give others the power to make decisions for you. Silence implies consent. If you fail to vote, you forfeit your right to complain.

Because you get a free sticker!

Fly safe
JAZ

If You See Something, Say Something – Living In America

If You See Something, Say Something – Living  In America

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”Martin Niemoller

I always said that I would be the first one out of Nazi Germany. I would have been gone as soon as I heard the hate rhetoric. Germany elected a monster with a lot of charisma. He told the people what they wanted to hear so how could they resist.

The economic crisis helped Hitler to come into power. He was democratically elected.
I’m not sure that you can blame the German people for that. Hitler did not campaign on the premise of starting a holocaust. He didn’t sound much more radical or antisemitic then any of the other candidates.

The collective crime of the German people was that they supported Hitler and his party even after they had started committing unspeakable crimes and that a sizable fraction of the population supported him in committing those crimes. The difficult thing about Democracy is that majorities are sometimes wrong and you have to decide if and when it is your moral duty to follow the wrong decisions or when to fight them.

I learned about the Holocaust as a little girl living in a refugee community of Holocaust survivors. Of course I would run. Now I am a grownup. I believe in the Democratic process of voting and the person that was supposed to win, won.

There are signs that are troubling. The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, which acts as a check on the power of politicians and the government. Trump has already punished news organizations for critical stories by revoking their press credentials to his events and as President-elect continues to threaten them and deny access. I don’t think certain members of the press were particularly impartial during the election but that is one of the freedoms our country is built on.

There are things that were said in the campaign that breed similarity to a dictatorship. He talked about purging the government of all officials appointed by Barack Obama which is what Hitler did two months after getting into office. He is creating a tribe of people based on mutual hate and resentments. He is continuing to hold rallies (as did Hitler and Eva Peron).

I’m withholding my personal opinions and giving him a chance. I have to support the process of a Democratic election because I have seen the governments in Third World countries. I hope he does the good things that he says he will do. I’m reading and learning.  There has been a definite increase in racial harassment and xenophobia since Trump was elected. I understand that if an innocent Muslim or Latino is unsafe here, then I am also unsafe here. My new mantra is taken from homeland security. “If you see something, say something.”

Fly safe,

JAZ

What Kids Said When Donald Trump Won

What Kids Said When Donald Trump Won

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“I don’t think he will make a good president. He doesn’t know how to use his Twitter account and so I presume he will be hopeless at nuclear codes.”

“If Donald Trump deports my mom can I come live with your family?”

“He seems very bossy.”

“This is a hijab. It’s really hot. I don’t sleep in it. If you have questions, ask me. Don’t say terrible, scary things.”

“I don’t think he will be on the list of good presidents in the history of good presidents in the US.”

“If the president says bad things about Mexicans, then other people will too.”

“If he is a bully, how did he get to be president?”

“I woke up to find out that Trump was President and my sister was using my expensive shampoo.”

“I really like it here. I don’t want to leave.”

“Will I have to be a slave?”

“He might be a good president if he controls his anger.”

“Will I have to wear numbers on my shirt?”

“I’m not speaking to white people today. It is their fault,”

“He gets angry and interrupts people. He goes bankrupt a lot. I don’t thing that is good for a President.”’

“Im worried my brother who has leukemia will lose his health care.”

“I am hopeful that Donald Trump will not end the world or the country.”

“He got the most votes. He won fair and square.”

“I hope he is a great president and he doesn’t build a wall and send my friends home. I hope he is the best, kind, amazing president.“

“I’m scared people will hurt me because I am a girl.”

“Im ok with the outcome as long as he makes America better again.”

“Black people don’t vote for white people unless they’re like cool. He said what people wanted to hear, and they voted for him. Also, don’t tell anybody this, but I cried in the bathroom this morning when I found out.”

Children are listening, Speak to them. Let your intelligence and not your fear guide your words.  Hear them. Listen to what they have to say. Make them feel safe.  Read to them.  Encourage them to read books by authors and about people who are different then you are. Teach them about the world.

Fly safe.

JAZ

Watching TV Journalists On Election Night In The USA

Watching TV Journalists On Election Night in The USA

“Accepting that life is insane, that bad things happen to good people and that you can find the courage to be grateful for the good in every situation and still move forward is hard (even terrifying), but heroic.” Richie Norton

They were expecting the first female president. After eighteen months of constant TV coverage, it was almost going to be over. As the results became clear, a sort of shocked, glazed expression came over the newscasters’ faces. All the polls were wrong. The nation was much more divided than people thought and the journalists missed that point. It appeared that the media was unaware of how unhappy and afraid many people in this country were.  As the night wore on, it seemed that they had never entertained the possibility that the Republican nominee could win. Therefore, many of us who watched, read and listened to them for eighteen months, were unprepared as well.

The media had a clear anti-Trump stance. For the first time, I knew who the media would be voting for. The coverage of the fighting, name calling, birth places, taxes and emails had overshadowed what turned out to be the main issue of the campaign for the voters.   Change or more of the same?

The 2016 election has exposed the desperate need for political reform in this country. I found myself stuck with two dismal choices. There were many rational reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton – staggering health costs due to Obama care, corruption, economic insecurity, and pro war views. I had more reasons not to vote for Trump.

 Trump voters were not all crazy racists haters. They were loyal, no matter how inarticulately they said it. They were also people who wanted change. They wanted to change the power structure in the Democratic and Republican parties.They didn’t care what the media was saying.

There is a reality here. In their eyes, the educated, elite, traditional politicians were unable to give economic security, avoid terrorist acts, find a health care program that works for everyone or stop Isis. The time was ripe for an outsider to come in with passion and force as it has happened throughout world history. The media in their elite complacency missed that.

I am a Democrat. I’m a little fearful of what is to come. But a President’s to do list doesn’t always match up with what gets done. We don’t know whether the worst will come or not,  but we do know that this election brought out the worst in people. We need to find a way to remember the principles of this country and the Constitution.  At this moment in time, it is best to support the process and call on our highest instincts to unite us. 

Fly safe,

JAZ