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Postal Service's Tuesday closure sparks backlash

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Even in Death, Gerald Ford Has Hate Mail

Postal Service’s Tuesday closure sparks backlash

How ironic that all the tributes to Gerald Ford, who may be, as we are now discovering, the nicest guy ever to be an American president, have stirred a few of the bottom feeders into action.

Specifically, they’re carping about no mail being delivered Tuesday as part of the national day of mourning for the former President, not so much because they miss their mail, but because they don’t believe that Ford is worthy of the honor. Or that it would only occur to the uberidiot, President Bush, to close the post office for the likes of Ford.

Thanks to the Internet, we can taste for ourselves, the sludge-like thoughts of folks who don’t like Bush because he’s “divisive,” but take the opportunity to spew a few of their own hateful thoughts about the man.

Why, some are asking in unashamed ignorance, are “they” declaring a national day of mourning without mail delivery when “they didn’t do the same for Ronald Reagan?” In fact, “they” did it for Reagan, as a brief search of the U.S. Postal Service site shows. What’s most amazing is that at least one soul on an editorial freelance writers site—people who should be able to find and confirm facts for themselves—couldn’t do as much before ranting about how the absence of mail delivery appears to have been a unique move by his goofiness, President Bush.

Bush’s declaration of a day of mourning moved one poster to compare the president to Caligula, the Roman emperor renowned for his brutal and tyrannical excesses. One less fevered poster merely called Bush the “Tin Man—he has no brain,” even though, in a stunning lack of accuracy by an editorial freelance writer, it was the Scarecrow that was brainless.

One Internet poster lamented: “You’re closing Whaaa?? Oh W. My dear-brush-clearing cowboy president. I weep for the void between your ears.” Said another: “There should be a holiday for the day that [George Bush] dies, and it will be a festivity that’ll overshadow the 4th of July, Christmas and New Year combined!!! People will be dancing in the streets and children will sing! ‘We are free at last, sadness is a thing of the past.’”

More than one Internet poster asserted that mourning was misplaced because the death of a “93-year-old man” isn’t all that traumatic, or even noteworthy. Another wailed: “I want my mail, dammit. You dolt.” Another proclaimed: “F… you, Gerald R. Ford!”

Astonishingly, one took out her wrath on mail carriers, asking, ”Do you seriously think my beloved illiterate postal carrier is sitting at home today reflecting on the late president’s legacy and pondering how he can carry that on in his own non-elected-official way?”

And so forth. Apparently, the non-stop reflections of the past few days of the Ford funeral on the need for reconciliation didn’t light all corners.

Unfortunately, the complainers could have made a good case for not stopping the mail on Tuesday, but that would have meant that they would have had to put aside their Bush bashing for a moment, and taken a conservative perspective on government operations. So, I’ll do it for them:

The U.S. Postal Service advertises itself as “an independent federal agency,” receiving no taxpayers’ dollars for routine operations for making deliveries to almost 150 million addresses. It was remade some years ago to become more of an independent entity, not so subject to the demands of politics and inefficiencies of government. The Postal Service could have been more convincing if it indeed had acted independently of the proclamation of a federal holiday, and delivered the mail.

More important, by deciding to continue to deliver mail on Tuesday, it would have acknowledged that its prime job is service. Certainly if the national parks could have remained open on Tuesday, mail delivery—of far greater importance to far more people—should have also continued. Delivering mail also would have acknowledged that it is in a competitive business, with UPS, FedEx and the rest of the carriers that continued working.

Gerald Ford indeed was a better President than most people acknowledged at the time, whose greatness flowed from his courage and honesty. It would have been a daring step for the Postal Service to continue mail delivery on Tuesday; perhaps it would have received just as much criticism for not observing the national day of mourning as it did for observing the day of mourning. But that’s what being “independent” and competing with the private sector is all about: taking chances.

It would have been a nice tribute to Ford.

Written By

Dennis Byrne is a Chicago newspaper columnist and freelance writer. He can be reached at dennis@dennisbyrne.net. To post a comment about his writing go to http://dennisbyrne.blogspot.com.

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