I was riding the bus today, and through the window I spot on Vanderbilt a pair of USPS mailboxes that stood out. They were painted over decorated with “We Heart The Post Office” in bold, jumbo letters — the kind of styling that looked it was a school project. As we drove past the mailboxes, the heartfelt message made me realize how much we took for granted before Trump was in office: those little and mostly ignored things (like a mail carrier coming to deliver your junk mail) genuinely have so much power and affect our lives so profoundly.
It made me sad how he and his administration tried to undercut everything: from the Post Office, to voting, to free speech and demonstration. I’ve always considered myself progressive and a believer in facts and science, but it wasn’t until Trump came into office that I realized how cloistered and unobservant we really are to everyone and everything else — how even the little things mattered. He and his believers challenged my core values, and if it wasn’t for his polarizing actions, beliefs, and words, I’d probably remain unaware and emotionally passive. And I’m not just talking about the necessity and the general efforts of the Postal Service or those ubiquitous organizations that enter our lives daily but also the opposite: there are some despicable things and some horrible people I haven’t had the courage to speak out against. Sure, I’ve always felt the world is shitty and people generally suck, but I’ve always chalked that up to depression and anxiety. I’m just glad that everyone else is now aware of it. I’m glad that what I was feeling was true and merely hiding in plain sight, under the veil of someone else’s privilege, unspoken conservatism, and money.
As for the systems that run our society — be it the Post Office, capitalism, our healthcare systems, our scientists and educators, our government, and our police and prison systems — the last 5 years have removed the blinders for everyone (and the gravity of reality seems to have only accelerated this past year alone). We see the absolute importance of some of these systems and the corruption of others, and you can attribute this new “wokeness” to the petulant man with the wafted combover whose megaphone was so loud, it blew away the curtain.
So buy some stamps, reach out to someone different than you, hand a dollar to a homeless person, thank a teacher or a nurse. Be a better and more appreciative person, and — like those painted mailboxes — let them all know you know.