Do 1 Thing, Like Support The Postal Service

Thursday is a great day to do that one thing you don’t want to do but also don’t want to continue thinking about doing

My one thing this week is boring, in that it involves mailing letters (yawn), but at least it gives me reason to reflect on the United States Postal Service. Like, remember that early episode of “Project Runway” in which they had to design new uniforms for letter carriers? That was classic.

And here’s an investigation, courtesy of Vice’s Motherboard, into why the post office, with “one leg in necessity and one leg in obsolescence,” still exists, despite the fact that it’s super broke and has no strategy for becoming solvent again. Spoiler alert: it has to do with history.

The postal service dates back to the earliest days of the United States, and is one of the few government agencies specifically provided for in the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 explicitly states “The Congress shall have Power…To establish Post Offices and post Roads.” And government, both at the federal and local levels, uses the good old USPS for important documents like vehicle registration renewal and jury summons. And don’t forget zip codes, which were created for the postal service but have now become a basic part of living in the US, used for things like statistical analysis and credit card verification.

This is probably the simplest explanation for why the postal service still exists: it’s been around for so long that it’s pretty tightly woven into the fabric of the rest of the US government, as well as citizens’ lives.

Why does it exist? Because it’s been around for so long. It continues to exist, so it continues to exist. A tautology but a kind of satisfying one.

So yeah! Mail. I’ll be sending some of that.

What’s your 1 thing?

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