Most Americans can recall a time when six-day services of the U.S. Postal Service were regarded as a “right” almost like freedom of speech or freedom of worship. But today, with online convenience and spontaneity, the arrival of the mailman is not awaited with nearly as much anticipation. It’s probably just a stack of bills anyway, accompanied by a periodical or two.

Society has voted with with its computer mouse. That trend along with rising delivery costs have brought the Postal Service to a point where cuts are being proposed in addition to almost routine hikes in postage prices.

Federal law requires the Postal Service to be self-sufficient through the sale of stamps. But electronic alternatives are putting “continued downward pressure on mail volume,” the Postal Service said in a recent news release. Like any operation that witnesses a decline in business would do, the Postal Service has announced plans to close hundreds of its 34,000 locations across the country.

A list of planned closures published on the Web shows no offices in this immediate area. That’s good news especially for rural communities, for whom their post offices and public schools provide the core of their identity. Many, if not most, of the post offices are neighborhood locations in larger cities where duplication may be convenient, but apparently no longer cost-effective.

Protests by citizens through appeals to their representatives are saving some of these sites from closing. But given current trends and the business model under the government operates the Postal Service, that may be only a temporary reprieve.

Brownwood Bulletin