Of all things, the freaking postal service should not be a partisan fight

Is anyone else tired of every single issue in the United States being manipulated and molded into a partisan football?

I've long agreed with George Washington's assessment that partisan fighting was our republic's "worst enemy," but I didn't anticipate that it would ever get this ridiculous. It's virtually impossible to voice an opinion on any subject without being placed into one of two distinct categories—left/liberal/Democrat or right/conservative/Republican—by hoards of people. It happens constantly on articles I write, though I've never once declared any allegiance to (or even preference for) a political party, I have voted for candidates from different parties for different positions, and I openly reject all narratives that force people into ideological boxes.

But I guarantee, because I am speaking in defense of the USPS in this piece, people in the comments are going to accuse me of being a "shill" for the Democratic party or being paid to push a "leftist agenda." This is what we've come to. Supporting the freaking post office—a long-standing institution universally beloved and relied upon by people of all political persuasions—is now a hotly debated partisan political stance.

No. I refuse to accept it.


We all know that the USPS has struggled with budget shortfalls, in part to a pension prefunding requirement from Congress, and that there is ongoing internal debate over how it should be run. The nature of the USPS is odd in that it isn't a business in the way we think of business, but rather an independent branch of the government—but one that isn't funded by the taxpayers. It's all a bit confusing and weird in the way it functions, but the bottom line—especially at the moment—is that it's a vital service for millions of Americans. In fact, the Postal Reorganization Act passed in 1971 states it plainly: "The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States."

The USPS was designed to be a non-partisan, non-profit public service provided by the government, though it isn't funded by the government. If it's struggling, why are we not bending over backwards to bail it out? Especially during a pandemic and an election year, when it's arguably more vital than ever?

Using taxpayer money, the U.S. has bailed out for-profit banks and we've bailed out for-profit car companies. Why have we done that? Because banks hold people's money—kind of important—and car companies employ a lot of people—also kind of important. Banks and car companies are big corporations that people tend to hate on principle, but we've bailed them out because so many of us rely on them.

In light of that fact, why not bail out the one service that 91% of Americans actually approve of? We live in a country where a huge portion of people hate the government in general, and yet the USPS is ranked as people's favorite government agency. And people literally rely on it for all kinds of things, not the least of which is medications.

NBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennett compiled a list of veterans he's heard from who are struggling with the massive slow down in USPS delivery.




So veterans and seniors and people who are disabled are being actively hurt by the slow-but-not-really-that-slow destruction of the USPS. Sure, there are reforms that need to take place in the running of the postal service to make it financially stable. But literally everything is turned upside down right now. This is not the time to make sweeping changes or cut overtime or dismantle sorting machines or remove mailboxes. How are any people okay with this?

It's not like there's nothing to be done. Again, we've bailed out far more problematic entities than the freaking post office. And the government is supposed to do the bidding of the people—that's literally the foundation of our republic. If 9 out of 10 of us approve of a service that nearly 100% of Americans use, there should be no question or debate about doing whatever it takes to keep it up and running. People need to be able to mail in absentee ballots during the pandemic and ensure they arrive on time.

The USPS handles all manner of private, secure documents, such as our drivers licenses, passports, credit cards, checks, etc. handles. It also moves 15 billion pieces of mail from Thanksgiving to New Year's in order to get people's holiday cards and present to them in a timely manner. All of a sudden now, in an election year, in a pandemic, we're going to act like they couldn't handle the entire election safely and securely?

Congress, please just do whatever needs to be done. You have my blessing to throw as many tax dollars at the USPS as is necessary to make sure this vital service operates at full capacity through the election. Voting by mail doesn't favor either party—everyone has the same opportunity to vote—so there's no reason for this to be a partisan fight. I live in a state that's had universal mail-in voting for more than a decade. We have a Republican Secretary of State (the position that runs the elections). We are ranked #2 in the nation for electoral integrity. There's nothing partisan or fraudulent about mail-in voting.

Ensuring that voters can safely vote so that we can have a functioning republic is something every American should be fighting for—and right now, that means fighting for the postal service.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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