I must acknowledge the brilliant thoughts expressed by Mark Jamison in his response to my post “Reform or What?” Mark captures the essence of the debate over the future of the Postal Service. The only difference that I would have with his theories is that power concedes nothing without a demand. Ordinary people who are so caught up in superfluous issues are blind to the bend of our government institutions to favor the rich and powerful. The political system has been contorted to respond to campaign contributors who dominate the legislative agenda.
Transformation is underway to remove government as a leveling agent in the division of resources generated by the population. A series of events have tilted the collective benefit to those at the very top of collective action. Over the course of the past 50 years, the wealthy have made significant progress in harboring a disproportionate share of resources through the use of government – NAFTA, weakened safety regulations, gerrymandered election Districts, assaults on the right to organize, and now the coup de gras of removing Congress as a legislative branch beyond the maintenance of national defense. The Chamber of Commerce has been successful in eroding the use of government for the collective good and have converted it to be an inactive body consumed by investigations.
The Postal Service and its future are caught in this transformation and until the voters begin to focus on their collective interest, this generation will unwind the relationship between government and individual citizens. Social Security, Medicare. Health care and government provided services, including the Postal Service will be abandoned to be replaced by -for profit services. The future of the United States Postal Service is caught up in this transformation and a disinterested public will be oblivious to its demise.
We can editorialize about the proper use of government but the American citizens are tuned out even though they will be directly affected. Our political system has been changed into a forum where only 30% of eligible voters participate and this 30% is focused on pet issues, exclusive of service and long range benefits. We need a political movement representative of working people that will focus on issues that add to the quality of their lives.
Congressman Issa has the support of his constituents who accept his use of authority to pursue a political agenda. It is the American voters, 50% of whom do not participate in the democratic process who are the real architects of the dismantling of government institutions. I predict that when conservatives have achieved their objectives of disadvantaging the ordinary people there will be a response, but by then the damage will have been done and the road back will be insurmountable.
Mark and I disagree on the question of deciding what is right and what is wrong in the role of government. Mark believes that there is a universal standard that will judge the best use of government. I believe that in a Democracy it is a political question that will be decided at the polls.
Unfortunately, the voters do not understand the importance of government in their lives and believe that they inherit all of the positives generated by collective activity. And if history is repeated, the very same citizens that will be disenfranchised by the decisions favoring capitalism over labor will either fail to vote, or in a majority will vote against their personal interest. This is democracy and we will get the government and services that we vote for.
I thank Mark for adding a voice of reason to the debate.