A postal problem

Yesterday, I emailed the following letter to my Representative and Senators. If you agree, more voices could only help.

Several times, I’ve tried raising this issue directly with the United States Postal Service, but not only can I not find anyone there who can help, I can’t even find someone who can direct me to someone who might have a clue. So perhaps you, as a member of Congress, can access the upper echelons of postal management, to suggest that this is a small piece of standard procedure that really needs to be changed.

The issue is the touch screen at each clerk’s window. Every time I go to the window to mail a package, the clerk asks “is there anything liquid, fragile, hazardous, etc., in this package?” But they can not accept me responding to them; I have to touch the screen to say “no.” The same screen that the previous customer was drooling on, and the customer before sneezed at, and I have no idea when last the screen was washed.

Everything else in the post office recognizes the current pandemic: the clerks wear masks and gloves, there are decals on the floor marking six-foot distances between customers, there’s a sign on the door saying “no more than 10 people in the lobby at one time; if you’re #11, please wait outside.” But there’s this touch screen that they insist—for no good reason except that the system requires it—every single customer must touch. Touching the screen to say “no,” and then again to say “yes, give me a printed receipt,” adds nothing to the postal experience. It doesn’t make anything more secure, doesn’t make anything more efficient, but it surely does help spread germs and virus.

Can you please look into having the USPS change this useless, and potentially dangerous, customer experience?

Failed Wartime President Trump

On March 18, referring to the then-brand new Covid-19 pandemic just sweeping the country and the planet, President Donald Trump called himself “a wartime president” (https://www.npr.org/2020/03/22/819672681/trump-tries-on-the-mantle-of-wartime-president).

It’s nearly nine months later. Lame duck President Donald Trump has given up doing his job as President (though he’s still rampaging all over the place claiming he won re-election). Should we hang the mantle (shackle?) of “wartime president” around his neck? As of December 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 249,570 Americans have died of Covid-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm).

For comparison, the Department of Veterans Affairs lists Battle Deaths in America’s Wars (https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_americas_wars.pdf):
World War II (1941-45): 291,557
Civil War (1861-65): 214,938 (Union and Confederate combined)
World War I (1917-18): 53,402
Vietnam War (1964-75): 47,434
Korean War (1950-53): 33,739
American Revolution (1775-83): 4,435
War of 1812 (1812-15): 2,260
Mexican War (1846-48): 1,733
Indian Wars (1817-98): 1,000
Spanish-American War (1898-1902): 385
Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-91): 148

In other words, of all American wars, more soldiers died on the field of battle only in World War II than people have died in nine months of Covid-19. More people have died this year of Covid-19 than our number of war dead in every other war in which the United States was involved. More of us have died in 2020 of this virus than the number of American soldiers who died on the field of battle in all the wars we fought, combined, except World War II and the Civil War.

My point? My point is: yes, he’s leaving office in seven weeks, but he’s not doing his job now. He seems to be unable to carry out the duties of President. The Vice President and the Cabinet should activate section 4 of the 25th Amendment, and try to show a little leadership, a little class, on their way out the door; try to help us survive the next few months, which CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said will be among “the most difficult in the public health history of this nation.”

I spent the last twelve years, since the publication of my book, The Presidential Book of Lists, trying to avoid one word in the subtitle. Every time someone looked at that book, they saw the one word, “worst,” and asked me who the worst President was. And every time, I would demur, avoid answering, and turn the conversation to another point. No longer. We now have a clear “winner”: Donald John Trump is clearly the worst President in American history.