A Mailroom Manifesto

by Michael Colby

The unknown purveyors of bioterrorism have now sent their potent blends of Anthrax to numerous U.S. locations, targeting, for the most part, elite figures of the government and media. But what they haven1t apparently realized is that in our heavily classist system, these elites never come close to their own mail. In fact, the task of mail opening is way down the totem pole of privilege, usually relegated to some dank basement in the swanky towers of power.

Tom Brokaw didn’t come close to his mail. Tom Daschle didn’t come close to his mail. And even though the Anthrax-laden letters were addressed to both of these men, it was dozens of their underlings who actually became contaminated. And now there isn’t an executive in this nation who will dare wander down to the mailroom anytime soon.

But in every groovy office place in the nation the big bosses are issuing crocodile tears to their mail-opening staff, trying to make it seem like they “care” but not sticking around long enough to risk being contaminated themselves ? either by the Anthrax or the mail-opening ruffians.

I happen to know several people who-unfortunately–have as part of their job description the task of opening corporate mail. And they1ve all reported to me about how their bosses have made overtures toward their safety in the last few days. There have been offers of masks, gloves, and condescending lectures about how to 3be careful with any suspicious mail2 (no shit), all delivered in a way that assumes the folks in the mail dungeons aren1t even aware of what the hell1s been happening in the nation for the past month or so. You know, kind of like “Mr. Roger1s comes to deliver a safety warning.”

But offers of 25 cent plastic gloves, two dollar masks, and worthless lectures aren1t what the people in the mailrooms of this nation need right now, especially since those who felt they needed such items purchased them long before their bosses came waddling into their cramped spaces. And not one of the mailroom folks who I know have been offered what they1re truly looking for in these difficult times: a frigging raise. Nor, for that matter, have any of them been offered the same benefits package as those who are up on the “top floors.” No, the bosses will keep their offers confined to cheap gloves and masks because it always comes back to the “bottom line.”

In this instance, the offer of such contrivances like gloves and masks in the face of something like Anthrax amounts to little more than guilt reduction on the part of the bosses. In this new spirit of faux-patriotism, they feel like they have to “do something,” even though any reasonable person should know that the Anthrax would make its mark with or without such protection. It reminds me of the 3duck and cover2 days of the 1950s when our government taught our citizenry how to climb under their desks and cover their heads in case of a nuclear attack. In other words, good luck.

In the new bioterrorism war we1ve found ourselves in, the mailroom workers are on the frontlines. They’ve unwittingly become our Marines, and they certainly didn’t sign up for this tour of duty. Worse, they1re not paid nearly enough to take on such risks.

Which all leads me to suggest that if the Bushes, Brokaws and Daschles of the world want to keep pushing us deeper and deeper into this nefarious war, why don’t they put themselves on the frontlines for a while. If Bush wants bin Laden dead so badly, give him a gun, knife and bayonet and let him go do the dirty work. It1s one thing to sit up high in their chairs and talk about the “moral imperatives” of killing people, but it’s quite another thing to put your butt within the range of danger. And they can start by opening their own mail.

Mailroom workers of the world: Unite! CP

Michael Colby is the editor of the Food & Water Journal.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Vacy Vlanza
Without BDS, Palestine is Alone
Laura Finley
Adjunct Professors and Worker’s Rights
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode Three, Where We Thrill Everyone by Playing Like “Utter Bloody Garbage”
Weekend Edition
July 24-26, 2015
Mike Whitney
Picked Out a Coffin Yet? Take Ibuprofen and Die
Henry Giroux
America’s New Brutalism: the Death of Sandra Bland
Rob Urie
Capitalism, Engineered Dependencies and the Eurozone
Michael Lanigan
Lynn’s Story: an Irish Woman in Search of an Abortion
Paul Street
Deleting Crimes at the New York Times: Airbrushing History at the Paper of Record
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitical Implications
Andrew Levine
After the Iran Deal: Israel is Down But Far From Out
Uri Avnery
Sheldon’s Stooges: Netanyahu and the King of Vegas
David Swanson
George Clooney Paid by War Profiteers
ANDRE VLTCHEK
They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror
Horace G. Campbell
Obama in Kenya: Will He Cater to the Barons or the People?
Michael Welton
Surviving Together: Canadian Public Tradition Under Threat
Rev. William Alberts
American Imperialism’s Military Chaplains
Yorgos Mitralias
Black Days: August 4th,1914 Germany and July 13th, 2015 Greece