by Charles A. Monagan
Aug 9, 2011
01:47 PM
On Connecticut

The P.O. Must Go


I thought it was a failure of some sort when Americans refused to adapt to the metric system back in the 1970s.

I thought it was an even worse failure when we refused to adapt to the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.

I think it's a failure that we still produce and use pennies.

And that we still set the school-year schedule according to the agrarian calendar.

And that our mass-transit routes still follow 19th-century models.

And now I think that if we can't begin shutting down post offices, there's probably not much we can do. From our perspective in 2011, it's easy to see the end of the letter or message sent by post. For most of us, a letter in the mail is a rarity and a bill is something to receive, and pay, online. My mailbox is mostly cluttered with advertising flyers, fund-raising appeals and newsletters from elected officials (which is probably why they are leading the charge to save the post offices). I haven't been inside one in years.

Part of the argument against getting rid of local post offices is based on nostalgia. Like the watering trough and the summoning church bell, the local p.o. reminds us of an earlier day, when news traveled more slowly and social hubs were actual rather than virtual. It can be hard to turn your back on all that. But post offices cost money to operate and we clearly have too many of them, (like bank branches and oversized drugstores).

I'm hoping that in this case, good sense will prevail. "We always did it this way" is not a great argument, not when we're all trying to cut down on the costs of government, or quasi-government, or whatever the hell the Postal Service is. In the scheme of things, this is a tiny beachhead. If we can't take it, we might as well raise the white flag.

The P.O. Must Go

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