‘Ben Franklin is watching:’ Protesters hold demonstration to save the United States Postal Service
“Ben Franklin is watching: We the People need the Post Office."
August 22, 2020
Protesters gathered outside of Carbondale’s post office on 1301 E. Main St. to participate in a nationwide rally to protest Louis DeJoy, United States’ postmaster general, and his plans to reduce the United States Postal Service.
On Aug. 22, the House of Representatives will be voting on whether or not to pass the bill on providing $25 billion to USPS and prohibiting any further changes.
Mary Rajcok and Nel Battrell organized this protest through MoveOn and Indivisible, two progressive groups based in the United States.
Battrell said DeJoy has displaced dozens of postal executives, called for hiring freezes, cut back hours of postal workers and has created delays in mail service, even stopping delivery in some places.
Every American relies on the mail in some way or another by receiving medications, checks and general holiday cards and letters, Battrell said.
Battrell said Indivisible and MoveOn support free and fair elections by post mail and they encourage congress to intervene and protect the election.
“We can and will overcome these attacks,” Battrell said. “We must not let them scare us away from voting.”
Rajcok said the American people are under attack by President Donald Trump and DeJoy.
Rajok has been a part of Indivisible since former President Barack Obama left office in 2016 and has organized many protests, including one in Springfield, Illinois, where they lobbied.
Indivisible Shawnee, a progressive group organized in Illinois, is focusing on getting people to vote and the fair tax.
“I don’t understand why we have to rally around our postal service,” Rajcok said. “If they can dismantle and take away our postal service what’s going to be next?”
People need to have access to their medications, checks, and their vote via the mail, Rajcok said.
“They’re talking about bringing the police out to the polls and having them stand there,” she said. “What they’re doing is intimidating people.”
Rajok said the American people’s democracy is at stake and they need to speak out against violations to keep them from continuing.
Zander Craig, a seven-year-old resident of Carbondale, said the mail is very important to him.
“We’re protesting to fix the mail so our mail doesn’t get messed up,” Zander said. “I hope the future will keep getting better and better every year on.”
Jean Todd, of Marion, said the postal service should not have cutbacks because not only does it suppress the right to vote, but many people depend on the post office.
Todd said in some cases the mail service acts as a lifeline in small communities because rural mail carriers know their patrons and will notice if the mail hasn’t been picked up for a while.
Rose Weisburd, another Carbondale protester, said delaying the mail goes against the constitution.
Weisburd held a sign during the protest that read “Ben Franklin is watching: We the People need the Post Office.”
“What burns me up the most is they’re slowing down medicines to veterans,” Weisburd said.
Pat Damron, a protester from Marion, said there is no reason not to have the mail service.
“I think everyone should be able to vote by mail. We have to vote,” Damron said. “We have to get that psychopath out of the White House.”
Damron said she hopes Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House of Representatives can impeach DeJoy.
“To me this isn’t a Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Independent anything, this is our service and the one thing that belongs to us,” Rajcok said. “I want everyone out here knowing we need our United States Postal Service.”
Staff reporter Keaton Yates can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @keatsians.
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