April 22, 2020

The Postal Service in the Days of the Virus

The Postal Service in the Days of the Virus

This photo illustrates a NY Times story on the impact of the coronavirus on the city. Neither the photo nor the mail service is mentioned, but the photo has plenty to say about the impact of the virus on the postal service.

The caption simply identifies “A postal worker in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.” The context, given he’s alone, masked, and resting, is that postal workers, too, are giving their all on the COVID-19 front lines. But there’s more visually and politically going on here. For many reasons, including the enabling of big business, the undermining of public unions and benefits, and the latest, undermining vote-by-mail, the White House and conservatives are intent on eliminating the postal service. It’s just one more thing on the pandemic agenda. The administration has blocked emergency funding for the USPS in the virus relief packages, and the service–which has seen business fall off a cliff with the COVID-19 crisis–has gone without federal support for 14 years.

So it’s no wonder, with the rolling cart, the large plastic bag and the garbage cans behind it, paired with the mailman’s makeshift seat on the street corner, that the photo bears all the trappings of homelessness  (-Michael Shaw)

Photo: Brittainy Newman/New York Times ⠀

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Michael Shaw
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