Though It's Not About the Post Office

The post office discourse isn't actually about the post office, it's about how delusional we all are in our hopes that saving something so tangible and obvious will be enough to save the republic itself and spare us the mess of insurgency.

After months of absurdity, the heroic narrative of saving the Post Office feels so seductive. Unifying, even. Who doesn’t love the Post Office? And to think if we can just save mail-in ballots, we can…

…we can what?

What exactly?

He has so many other ways of obstructing the election and he’s not shy about his intentions. It’s not like this is the only arrow in his quiver of fudgenugget fuckery. White nationalists have left behind an enormous playbook and he intends to subject us to all of it.

And there are people waving around their dog-eared copies of Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny doing what about it exactly?

Telling other people to pick up their copy of On Tyranny? so we can all wave it around in our Zoom chats?

Very few of us who know better have contingency plans for when the unthinkable actually happens. It’s not something we talk about often, even with each other. Few of us feel so supported in our everyday lives that we would have the spare mental capacity for the emotional and intellectual labor necessary to make those contingency plans. So few of us have the resources to invest in building for ourselves strongholds of freedom to see our communities through dark times.

You can see the darkness coming. The winter. The bad times. But there’s not really much you can do about it.

Fantasy and Science fiction are two of the only arenas of human thought where imaginative labor is actually rewarded. If you can write a space opera where characters have to deal with rationing and scarcity on a starship traveling lightyears through distant galaxies, then you can explore the dark shadows that emerge in all humans under enormous stress.

But if you were to try to talk about shadows of the present moment, you’d sound crazy. If you regularly made Facebook posts about families living out of their cars and drone orphans, people would mute your feed because you’d be reminding them of the unthinkable. The majority of your peers do not want to dedicate their time on this planet to those kinds of concerns and though they would sound horrible if they were to say that out loud, it’s the truth. The truth itself is unthinkable. That’s the banality of evil.

That’s why the post office talk isn’t actually about the post office. It’s a way of expressing our fears, projecting onto the USPS our hopes of a salvaged republic.

But this is the last line drawn in a long sequence of previously crossed lines.

And when he crosses it, then what?

Whose job is to plan for the contingency no one can talk about?