Guest Editorial

Jim Hightower

Keep postal
service out of
corporate hands

Before there was a United States of America — before our Constitution was adopted, and even before our 1776 Declaration of Independence — one of America’s best democratic institutions was already delivering for the people: the postal service.
For 250 years, this invaluable public service has delivered more than mail. It was — and is — a core element of our national unity. Its network of local employees go door-to-door, coast-to-coast, six days a week in every zip code, physically linking America’s widely dispersed, wildly diverse people into one country. It is a universally popular and essential government service that works.
Yet as we’ve seen with such other valued public assets as our schools and parks, no flower is so beneficial to the common good that selfish corporate opportunists won’t try to pluck it for their private gain. So for years, corporate profiteers and laissez-faire ideologues have been plucking apart the budget, staff, branches, and historic mission of the Post Office.
Their scheme is to shrivel service, foment public dissatisfaction with the agency; demand evermore cuts in staff and branches — then push for a corporate takeover and downsizing of this universal, nationwide delivery network.
It’s not just a piece of government they’re trying to eliminate. It’s the core idea of America itself, namely our people’s can-do democratic spirit and commitment to the common good. Rather than meekly accepting this corporate retreat from our egalitarian ideals, let’s reassert our rebellious spirit.
For starters, we can help the feisty American Postal Workers Union push a “People’s Postal Agenda.” It outlines ways to reinvent and expand the public services that this grassroots network of employees and local branches is uniquely able to provide.
For info and action, go to

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. This op-ed was distributed by


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