Postal rate increase gets mixed reviews from Americans

As an American who is about to begin paying higher prices for postage stamps, this is my response to Sam Ryan's Jan. 6 Opinion piece, "Instead of raising stamp rates, the USPS should cut costs": 39 cents to send a letter anywhere in this huge country of ours - what a bargain! A 5.4 percent increase after four years of steady rates - how reasonable!

Hats off to the US Postal Service for managing to contain costs, pay decent salaries, offer good benefits, a pension, and job security to employees - while providing an important service to US residents of every race, religion, nationality, and social class.

Personally, I'd rather ante up 2 cents more to support those kinds of employment practices than see those good jobs outsourced to the private sector where they could be downgraded in salary, benefits, and security. If postal employees are paid more than their peers in the private sector, then the private sector should take note and bring their own employees' situation up to standard.
Lynn Palermo
Lewisburg, Pa.

I'm in full agreement with Sam Ryan's Opinion piece. Here's another suggestion: Eliminate all the unnecessary advertising! We all need to use the postal service. No amount of advertising will make a difference in its sales. Also, reduce the special stamp offerings. Every new stamp requires new plates to print them, which costs more.
Dick Peel
Northville, Mich.

In teaching history, present all sides

It was with a mixture of amusement and horror that I read the Jan. 4 article, "France divided over how to cast its colonial past." In trying to put meaning into my feelings, I turn to the words of one greater than I. In 1914, Walter Lippmann noted, "Modern men are afraid of the past. It is a record of human achievement, but its other face is human defeat." My feeling as a former social studies teacher is that we all have an obligation to retell history (if we are writing or teaching events) as accurately as we can and let the people reading or being taught use their own minds to understand and learn the lessons of the past.

History retold with a bias by exclusion is really nothing but propaganda at its finest. We must realize that we cannot change the truth, nor should we shy from it. In colonization, as with slavery, as with war, there are multiple perceptions, biases, and pros and cons. Our job is to present all sides of the issue.

We must also be aware that we cannot judge the past on present-day standards and laws. The past is merely a way for us to gauge our actions for the future, to avoid the same mistakes, to learn how to build on strong foundations, and to gain wisdom from those who came before us. Condemnation or false glory given to the past does not help us learn from history but creates false illusions.
Patricia Evans
Liverpool, N.Y.

The need for speed reduces literacy

I read with interest your Dec. 29 editorial, "Reading this editorial is a test, of sorts." I think the "drop in prose literacy" may be owing in part to our increasing passion for speed. If something like last year's computer takes 10 seconds longer to respond than the newest model, we junk the old one. If a sentence has too many separate phrases and clauses for our taste, we stop reading.

There is danger in a push-button mentality. Anything really worthwhile may require a lot of work, concentration, and dedication.
Eleanor M. Tuttle
Duxbury, Mass.

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