Dear President Trump,

I wrote the rest of today’s letter this morning before news broke about the pipe bombs sent to various high level Democrats and as I’m feeling really undone that someone would do that, I’m going to (mostly) leave it alone for today and will send you my original thoughts. Ironically, they revolve around USPS and stamps.

I’m taking a break today to write to you about postage stamps. A few weeks ago we got a letter in the mail with a beautiful solar eclipse stamp that I cut out and put on the kitchen windowsill where I have my collection of random precious objects. The stamp is square and it has a black perforation outline with a solid black circle taking up most of the center space and this is surrounded by wispy white curvy lines radiating out that look vaguely like solar flares. I noticed it again yesterday when I was doing the dishes and it prompted me to check to see what’s been happening with stamp issuing since you took office. Basically, I wondered whether you’d put the kibosh on the creation of lovely or moving or fun stamps like you’ve tried to do to pretty much every other positive governmental function (though fortunately you’ve not fully succeeded at most those efforts).

I perused the USPS new stamp issues webpages for 2015 (to benchmark), 2017, and 2018. I found the solar eclipse series in the 2017 batch (the one depicting the moon is nice too) and in that same set there’s one honoring Ezra Jack Keats’s awesome 1962 book “The Snowy Day,” which features an African American child enjoying a snowy day. There’s also one encouraging us to protect the pollinators with a picture of a bee on a purple coneflower and there’s one for Robert Panera, who was a pioneer in deaf studies, and one for Dorothy Height, who advised presidents from Franklin to Johnson on race and gender equality. There is also a Disney villain series and a variety of different flower and bird series plus one focused on Alzheimer’s disease. The 2018 series is similarly varied and neither the 2017 nor the 2018 series looks qualitatively different (to me) than the pre-you 2015 series. Although I hesitate to bring it to your attention since you could decide to replace them, it’s clear that there’s still an active, vital group within USPS that’s making decisions to highlight a wide variety of important and not so important (i.e., Disney villains, summer treats, Scooby Doo, etc.) issues via the stamps they create. It feels like a little tiny, but important, victory – akin to how our pastor is continually reminding us that holding on to joy is a radical act in the midst of so much oppression and hostility.

I hope all those young people who are buying stamps to put on their ballots take a second to notice and appreciate those stamps, but it’s also fine if they don’t give them a second thought and just go ahead and plunk down the 49cents to get those ballots where they need to be.

May we be safe from nefarious uses of stamps and our postal service.
May we be happy to vote leaders who encourage violence out of office.
May we cherish any and all signs of stalwart governmental health.
May we all realize we must resort to peace.

Tracy Simpson

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