- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2020

Explain, please, why during the COVID-19 pandemic we can order in or hang out for cocktails or cold brews before, during or after happy hour, but can’t go to the polls to vote?

Why can we go to clubs, promote and hold outdoor celebrations, but not cast an in-person ballot?

Why can we crowd in supermarkets, malls and shopping centers, mask up but not follow social distancing requirements, hop on airplanes and public transit — but not vote in person?

Either the jackasses have mistakenly tried to pin their own tails or the elephants’ trunks are stuck in swamp muck.

For certain, the right to vote is nothing to toy with, as most if not all adult Americans are aware. At first, that right was granted only to White men, then Black men, and finally women, and you know those facts even if you were taught only cursory U.S. history.

Here’s another lesson for you: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

So says the unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service, whose men and women have lived up to that expectation during times of war and peace. Though the origins of the ancient affirmation lie with the messenger service of the Persian empire, people here and abroad view the USPS as a trusty courier.

Unfortunately, not all members of today’s U.S. political trust are as trusting. Indeed, while congressional Republicans and Democrats have been complaining here and there, their constituents in rural, urban and every imaginable voting bloc in between have been turning up the heat since quarantines began in the spring.

Meanwhile, about the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s chief donkey, began assuming the role of water-bearer for the barrels labeled “mail-in voting” — using the COVID-19 pandemic as the chief obstacle to in-person voting at the polls. Some Republicans and other Dems followed her lead.

Fast forward to Monday, when Virginia’s junior senator, Mark Warner, sent a scathing letter about poor postal service, citing delayed medicines and other essential mail deliveries. The management during pandemic, of course, was circled as the bull’s-eye.

Mr. Warner’s letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said, in part: “This sudden decline in USPS quality of service poses a significant hardship in the context of COVID-19, when so many Americans are depending on the mail for delivery of groceries, household necessities, and medications. Even in the best of times, many seniors, some people with disabilities, and those living in rural areas particularly rely on the Postal Service as a critical link to vital resources. I strongly urge you to rescind any policy changes that are contributing to delays in mail delivery. … My constituents have also raised concerns that recent delays in mail delivery are part of the administration’s broader effort to erode the effectiveness of, and confidence in, voting by mail. Millions of Americans are expected to vote by mail in November so as not to risk their health by voting in-person. I am gravely concerned that instead of working to dispel misinformation about the security of voting by mail and supporting states in expanding access as a public health measure, the Trump administration is instead casting doubt on the integrity of mailed ballots and accusing states that seek to expand it of ‘cheat[ing].’”

It’s clear the Trump administration snorted so much swamp muck and blew it on the Democrats until the jackasses can’t distinguish the way forward from their tail ends.

The Democrats, however, shouldn’t blame poor or questionable postal service on COVID-19, the Trump administration or the postmaster general, who admittedly cut overtime hours to trim spending, reassigned or displaced 23 senior postal officials, including two high-level officials who oversaw day-to-day affairs. Good for him.

But Mr. Warner’s balking does nothing to explain why governors, state’s attorneys general and city politicians are not urging in-person voting. They’re fantastic at counting beans when it comes to asking the Trump administration for money, and they’re great at counting beans when it comes to tax dollars from small businesses, toll fees and internet taxation.

And when it comes to counting heads at spas, nail salons and gyms, recreation facilities and motor vehicle facilities. And when it comes to houses of worship they don’t even bother because such organizations and facilities are usually tax exempt. They just shut them down and, for the most part, look the other way.

So I again ask: Explain, please, why we can hang out for cocktails or cold brews before, during or after happy hour, but can’t go to the polls to vote?

χ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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