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March 21st, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #426: “Signed, sealed, delivered...uh...on Monday”

Reporter's Note: President Obama reads my letters every day. At least I think so. Or I like to think so. Either way, I write them…day after day to Pennsylvania Avenue.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/19/files.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Did I get this right? I read an article in USA Today which was all about the Post Office maybe giving up entirely on weekend deliveries, and it said the prime opponents of the measure are young Americans. How can this be? I sort of think most people under 30 are not entirely sure what a post office is, so how can they oppose this cutback?

The postal service amazes me. I know that plenty of people have gripes and have made jokes about it over the years, and Cliff Clavin was admittedly a terrific character. But it astounds me to think that I can scribble a note to someone thousands of miles away, stick it into an envelope, slap on a stamp, and for 44-cents have it delivered to the object of my correspondence!

Can you name one other thing that is so cheap and effective? And no cracks about my girlfriends in college, please. Well, ok…e-mail is better, I’ll admit that. But e-mail is still a relatively recent phenomenon and when you and all your political pals finally get around to taxing it (which you will…don’t try to fool me about that!) I suspect it will be word-for word no cheaper and perhaps even more expensive.

I love getting letters. Even these days. Even as I frantically thumb on my BlackBerry, and text on my phone, and flash semaphore messages to the folks on the Virginia side of the river. Letters just have a wonderful permanence about them, which is kind of strange to say considering that they are written on paper. They’re not like Stonehenge, for crying out loud.

Still, I like them and I get a little thrill every time I flip through the day’s stack of mail, and I’ll miss it if Saturday gets taken off of the route, so to speak.

So ponder this a bit, give me a call and let’s chat it over. Maybe we can come up with some clever new plan to offset the costs and keep the Saturday cards and letters coming. Wouldn’t that be something? Or I suppose you could write me a letter…but, uh, hurry.

Regards,

Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Anderson, I watch CNN the past two weeks on health care plan.
    I'm for health care needs I can't get insurance for pre-existing conditions. Plus I'm also small business with 28 employees. But the past weeks congress has no had the votes.I thought the President was going to transparently on all work at the capitol hill. A lot votes change for the house to pass this plan. As the speaker of the house stated no money change hands but what deals or promises that will cost the tax payers something you bet to get these votes. All those behind doors deals is going to cost the tax payers something. I what everyone in congress that change the vote to yes to state what the reason and who change their mind posted on Cspan or CNN. Half of the people on the capitol hill was not for this health care plan. Some where both parties that stated this was not the plan we the people did not want. We want a plan that would help all citizens. I believe that to many deals were made to get this health care plan passed. Americans want Congress to work all the people of this country.
    Thanks
    Robert

    March 22, 2010 at 4:48 am |
  2. Robin Lee

    Tom, USPS needs to study the French Postal system. Way back in 1999 (last century), I stumbled into a small post office in France. It was "tres petite" and a small farming village near Normandy. Much to my amazement, I could either send a carte postale by "snail mail", or i could pay to use the email machine inside the post office. For the same price of a stamp, the email was sent to the zip code I wanted to mail to, then printed out and mailed locally. Voila!...instant delivery all over France. Why can't the US combine the "best of both worlds" and have an email terminal inside the "snail mail' office? Think about it? Are those "Frenchies" smart or what?!!? Afterall, they invented French Fries. Just don't tell the "Freedom Fries" bunch at Fox Snooze". Later, Robin.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:42 am |
  3. Eddie

    I think that "under 30" wise-crack was uncalled for. As part of that demographic, I can tell you that young people are intelligent, and we care about what happens in our country because... well that should be obvious, because we'll still be here when you're dead!

    But I agree with the overall sentiment of the letter. I think we need to maintain an effective postal service. There are going to be some hard decisions about the size of the USPS in terms of employment. But I don't think that reducing services is the way to go. No one ever held on to customers that way (Railroads anyone?).

    March 22, 2010 at 1:28 am |
  4. Rose

    yea!!! Thank you Mr. President, we now have reformed health care in the US.

    March 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Liz

    Congratulations to our president who will now go down in history for far more than just the color of his skin

    March 21, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  6. Daniel

    So if the health insurance system is so good why do the representatives that are against the bill do not get out of their "tax payer paid insurance " they have right now and buy their insurance on regular market conditions? (Maybe pre existing conditions?)

    Let me know!

    March 21, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  7. Joanne P.

    I , too, value the USPS. I pay bills by mail, not the internet. It seems that my records are more secure by penning my checks and mailing them rather than online banking.

    However, raising the price of a first-class stamp and closing Saturday deliveries may save the USPS.

    Why not scale down in order to preserve themail?

    March 21, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  8. ella ferro

    I know a lot of young people that use the post office because it's cheaper. It's not true that they don't know what a post office is. I know quite a few that try to make ends meet by selling stuff online and they primary use the post office for delivery.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  9. Chris Stehlin

    I'd like oneof your reporters to ask the people demnonstrating against health reform, one question: How many of you do not have health insurance?

    March 21, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  10. Denise Barlow

    Good morning Tom.

    I have to agree after all this time the U. S. postal service decided it doesn't need to be open on Saturday to make deliveries?? What the heck! I enjoy getting a letter or two in the mail. Even junk mail can be fun...sometimes. ~sigh~ What's next?

    March 21, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  11. kevin George

    Hello Anderson,
    I live in canada so i don't seem to get it when some the politicians say that the health care reform introduced by president Obama will crumble America when they are very willing to keep their health care that is being paid for by the same uninsured tax payers that they say are not supposed to have it.
    I don't equally get it when uninsured people go out to demonstrate against the bill that is meant to save their lives.
    Wao, The insurance companies and all other stake holders are really powerful.
    America is the hope of the world and it seem ridiculous when the whole watch this play out. I am 100% covered medically in canada and we do not allow politician tell that we do not deserve it.
    Please Anderson I think you guys should start a campaign to make sure that every politician that votes against it will fulfit his/her health care for six months so they will appreciate what life is without it.
    Keep it honest. All the time. Lots of love from canada

    March 21, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  12. @arianakateri

    Great Post. I do disagree with the stereotype about young Americans however. I'm way under 30, and I use regular mail all the time. My peers do as well. The interesting thing is, able only to speak at least for me and my friends, the internet has made mail even more important to us. I have a friend in Florida that I met online, and we send each other items through the mail (CD's, get well cards, birthday presents, books we've read) and that's a huge part of our friendship when we're not visiting each other.

    Similar situations with many of my hometown friends. I know five people my age who have at least one friend they've met online and keep in touch with across the country through mail.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  13. rose

    i'm 26 and i oppose the cut backs, because i LOVE sending and receiving letters. My fiance is a United States Marine, and when he's away – I'll take any and all forms of communication I can get!

    I also send lots of letters, to friends and family. I suppose going down to 5 days a week is better than no postal service at all... but I love Saturday mail. Its so convenient to go mail that care pack you didn't have time to get to during the week.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  14. Rabakkah

    So much for the slogan of "through wind, rain, dogs, etc." the mail will be delivered.

    On the bill collectors will be angry.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  15. jokingjoe

    While we all enjoy services such as the mail delivery, the increasing costs of said service have pushed the growing debt of the post office to near the limit for with the federal government allows.

    Yes, some clever new plans to save/create money would be nice (if you find any money trees, I'd love a cutting). Other articles I've read say the post office is pretty handicapped due to legislation in the 60s/70s which limited the scope of services it can provide.

    With economy as it is and Fiscal Responsibility being an ever growing trend, it only makes sense for not only the post office, but government operations in general to rethink and rebudget. Less mail is sent every year. Simple economics would imply reduced demand should warrant reduced supply of service.

    Of course, perhaps I'm jaded as I do not receive many nice notes and cards. My box is full of monthly bills prompting me to suggest saving the postal service even more money by reducing the mail carrier schedule to M-W-F.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  16. Roe

    May I ask what the big deal is ? .. up here in Montreal Quebec we have never had mail on the Saturdays ... Actually when I lived in the USA I was surprised that there was mail on Saturday.
    just askin.
    Roe

    March 21, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  17. suzanna

    I look fwd to my sat deliveries

    March 21, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  18. Michael B. Del Camp

    I worked for the US Postal Service for two years. Like many government jobs, and hiring procedures, the entire experience struck me as opaque, arbitrary, unfair and yes, demeaning. There is just something about every bureaucracy, institution and edifice in America nowadays, that is crumbling into the dustbin of lost traditions and values. Time was, when Workers here in America were treated with respect, if not for their persons, than for what they could create or accomplish for others. Now, it would seem, those days are behind us, and Americans cannot even agree to disagree with one another, about either healthcare reform, or much of anything else. My lifelong disappointments have prepared me for this America I am living in currently. I doubt that "my fellow" Americans have been similarly prepared.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:38 am |