BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Over the past three months we have seen plenty of rallies voicing grievances against government agencies, such as police departments. Well, rallies were taking place Tuesday all across the U.S. in support of a government agency — including one rally in southwest Bakersfield at the U.S. Post Office at Stockdale Highway and New Stine Road in the stifling, smoky heat of late August.
Activists aren’t protesting against the post office. They’re protesting for it.
In late July, the postal service warned 46 states that their deadlines for requesting absentee ballots might not provide “sufficient time” for ballots to be mailed to voters and returned to the elections office with the required election day postmark.
In response to that and other concerns, the american postal workers union chose today as “a day of action” — inviting their members and supporters to gather at local post offices throughout the country to stop what they say are harmful service cuts and mail delays.
But while union postal workers have taken active roles in the rallies at scores of post offices nationwide Tuesday and in the past few days This bakersfield rally is primarily the work of an organization called Our Revolution Kern County composed largely of former supporters of Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders as well as members of the local Young Democrats and an offshoot known as Sunrise Kern.
Their concern — perceived efforts by the Trump administration to de-legitimize the outcome of the November election by undermining the vote by mail process.
Neel Sannappa of the Kern County Democratic Party — one of the organizers — says Americans should have confidence in the U.S. Postal Service, because postal workers themselves do.
“What they’re trying to do is slowly dismantle the USPS to have less faith (in the voting process) and not be able to turn in mail-in ballots especially with the corona going on right now as well,” he said. “If you connect the dots here you can see how it benefits Trump, it benefits the republican party and it’s really the misinformation coming from the executive office.”
Says Gabrielle Gonzalez is another rally organizer: “I believe it’s a threat to our democracy to remove that essential service that we need. We need vote by mail. We’re in a pandemic because of Covid.”
But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield — in a press release issued last week prior to the House’s vote to bolster the USPS with an emergency allocation– said Democrats’ complaints about the president’s actions and statements about the post office are off base.
He called the accusations “Speaker Pelosi’s Mailbox Myths” and claimed Trump is not trying to defund the Post Office or remove mail boxes. McCarthy’s campaign was all for naught. The House voted to allocate $25 billion to the USPS.
Americans may or may not love the post office, although we’ve seen plenty of evidence they love their postal carriers. This is the first time many of us have seen this kind of love for a federal government agency. IRS, eat your heart out.
Efforts to reach the local postal workers union office were not successful and a local post office official declined to comment.