The Slowing Postal Era

Say it ain’t so.

The Postal Service has been in the media quite a bit over the past year by closing around 600 post offices in 2011 with as many as 3,700 proposed to close in 2012. With each story the pit in my stomach grows. Hearing situations of small towns losing their sole landmark and identity with the removal of their post office or the idea of ending Saturday delivery throughout the country makes me want to either move to a deserted island (I hate change!) or stand on a speaker’s corner screaming out “PEOPLE, WRITE MORE LETTERS.”  Since I most likely won’t be acting out on either options I’m appreciating other individuals or groups who continue to create awareness of the situation.

Going Postal began in August 2008, when Evan Kalesh made it his mission to visit as many post offices as possible. As of now he’s visited 2,950 in 43 states and he is not stopping. Evan has not only created a photo journal of the towns he has visited but he’s also very passionate about what the loss of a community’s post office means. For many this is not just where they pick up their mail but it represents the hub of their lives, where they connect with neighbors and hear the “goings on” with others. It’s the constant heartbeat for a township with the one post office employee standing in as almost a caregiver to many.

Also, Save the Post Office is an excellent resource which provides information on anything you would want to know about the current state of the Postal Service, closings, and also how one can preserve their own post office. They believe the future appears as so: “The speed with which the mail is delivered will slow down as plants and post offices close, people will need to drive further to a post office and the lines will be longer, postal workers will be further demoralized, more historic post office buildings will be sold off, the downward spiral will accelerate, and the country’s anger at the Postal Service will increase to the point that people will look forward to privatization or at least further steps in that direction.” It’s not a pretty picture.

Take a listen or read a recent story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune regarding the town of Hope, MN, which is hoping their hub will not be closing.

So let’s get writing people! I’m not saying go out and get yourself a postmark tattoo, but support your local post office, buy stamps and write a bit of mail. It’s good for your soul and it’s good for our country.

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