GOSHAY: How many jellybeans are in the mailbox?
The life and recent death of Rep. John Lewis brings to mind that, not so long ago, some Americans were forced to risk their lives to cast a vote.
Sixty years ago, Black Americans in the South who wished to vote had to pay poll taxes or pass so-called “intelligence” tests, which included everything from reciting the preamble to the Constitution to correctly guessing how many jellybeans were in a jar.
Now, that’s a “rigged” election.
But mostly, under the fallacy of states’ rights, they simply couldn’t vote and risked jail or worse if they tried.
The era still resonates because the vote is the rock upon which this constitutional republic rests; not military might, not wealth, but the inalienable right of ordinary people to govern themselves.
Now here we are, decades later, confronted with an obstacle of a different sort, but no less dangerous. Doubt, lies, chaos and punitive policies are being planted to undermine faith in the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver ballots in time for the election.
No one will ever convince me that the country which landed men on the moon, invented the internet, built the Continental Railroad during war, erected the Empire State Building during the Great Depression, and constructed the Brooklyn Bridge and Hoover Dam can’t get ballots where they need to be.
If every voter in America mailed their ballot this year, it would equal 1% of the amount of mail handled by the USPS every Christmas.
There’s room for improvement in any organization, but in 2006, Congress voted to require the USPS to fund its retirees’ health care benefits for an unprecedented 75 years in advance, then dipped into the lockbox to help pay down the national debt.
Like a chain letter, you’ll never come out ahead.
This is about more than removing mailboxes and dismantling sorting machines in the middle of a pandemic. They’re mere symptoms of a cynicism that believes we must destroy democracy in order to save it.
Birtherism and “plandemic” conspiracies have produced more fruits and nuts than were ever dropped off at the wrong house by the post office.
It’s about standing up for the peaceful transfer of power, through the vote.
Nothing and no one can be allowed to threaten it.
Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @cgoshayREP