USPS and social distancing
During these challenging times, postal employees are working hard to ensure residents stay connected with their world through the mail. Whether it’s medications, a package, a paycheck, benefits or pension check, a bill or letter from a family member, postal workers understand that every piece of mail is important. While service like this is nothing new to us, we need our communities’ help with social distancing.
For everyone’s safety, our employees are following the social distancing precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials. We are asking people to not approach our carriers to accept delivery. Let the carrier leave the mailbox before collecting the mail. With schools not in session, children should also be encouraged to not approach a postal vehicle or carrier.
If a delivery requires a signature, carriers will knock on the door rather than touching the bell. They will maintain a safe distance, and instead of asking for a signature on their mobile device, they’ll ask for the resident’s name. The carrier will leave the mail or package in a safe place for retrieval.
We are proud of the role all our employees play in processing, transporting, and delivering mail and packages for the American public. The CDC, World Health Organization, as well as the Surgeon General indicate there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.
With social distancing, we can keep the mail moving while keeping our employees, and the public, safe.
U.S. Postal Service
Northern New England District
Being good neighbors
The Canadian newspaper, the National Post, on April 6 published a story with the headline: “How two Canadians made it out of Turkmenistan amid COVID-19 scare, thanks to a former U.S. ambassador.”
The paper noted that “the U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan for about five years, was a colleague and friend of one of the six diplomats who were rescued from Tehran during the U.S.-Iran hostage crisis in 1980, with Canadian assistance.”
The story is told by a Canadian couple, teaching English in that remote Central Asian country controlled by an authoritarian regime, where Canada did not have an embassy. When the borders were suddenly sealed, the U.S. diplomats were able to negotiate a charter flight out for their citizens. The only four Canadians in Turkmenistan, however, were considered “as one of us” in the words of the ambassador quoted by the couple.
This is not news to an American diplomat. At any of our embassies or consulates in such a situation, there would be the same instinct to help Canadians. While the memory of the Canadians saving us in Teheran is fresh, as dramatized in the film “Argo” with Ben Affleck, I feel that the American response is much more than a quid pro quo.
Americans, and especially Mainers, know the importance of helping your neighbor. Maybe because our families are scattered across greater distances, neighbors provide each other with care and companionship. In the pandemic of 2020, just being able to stand at a distance of six feet to talk to a neighbor is crucial to surviving.
Canadians and Americans are neighbors in all the best ways, sharing goods and ideas, the tangible and intangible. Our solidarity extends far beyond that border crossing; it exists anywhere in the world.
Paying the price
This pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear to me: the GOP, the Republican Party, the party of the conservatives, is incapable of leadership and of keeping Americans safe. They squandered their opportunity to rein in our dangerous president, Donald Trump, and thousands are now paying the price with their lives.
We have a failed real estate baron in charge of the COVID-19 response. This nation needs a qualified pandemic tsar who will assure an adequate and appropriate response to this crisis. The Republicans in Congress are totally capable of making this happen. Instead they have rolled over for Trump.
When are we going to hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire and make them do their job to return this nation to a state of normalcy, of prosperity, of safety, of adequate health care?
We cannot wait until November to vote them out. We must all demand that they do their job now.
End illegal wildlife trafficking
I am writing to express my concern about illegal wildlife trafficking and to urge elected officials to pass legislation to stop it.
Wildlife trafficking is a commercial enterprise that entails illegal poaching, taking and trade of wild plants and animals. We now know that it is also a cause of wildlife-human viruses like COVID-19 — the coronavirus that is causing thousands to get sick.
To better restrict the wildlife trade, our elected leaders need to immediately pass legislation that prohibits the wildlife trade and trafficking in the U.S. — and the Trump administration should enforce existing laws.
As individuals and as a society, we can be diligent about knowing the source of products we consume. The wildlife trade exists around the world — including here at home. Not buying products that are derived from wildlife is a crucial action we can each take.
We can prevent more wildlife diseases from infecting humans by putting an end to illegal wildlife trafficking and stop the exploitation of wildlife generally. I hope our elected officials will take action to do so.
President Trump’s legacy
Like others, I now refer to the COVID-19 virus as the Trump Virus, abbreviated TV. As we know, the president likes to append his name to important things, and this is one such thing that he has earned.
No, he didn’t invent the virus, nor did he bring it here, but I believe his total mismanagement of the crisis over the last two months and more, has directly caused unimaginable suffering and death to (we don’t yet know how many) thousands of Americans. That, my friends, is the legacy of President Donald Trump.