We didn't expect the Postal Service to be dragged into the political arena this year, but it was. Despite the rhetoric, it appears that mail-in ballots will be delivered promptly for this year's general election.

Beyond Nov. 4, however, it's worth considering how valuable the Postal Service is to the nation and every community in it, including Madison.

Despite extraordinary service since its founding in 1792 (Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as Postmaster General in 1775), the Postal Service has endured challenging political winds. After being an agency of the U.S. Government for its first 178 years, it became an independent agency expected to operated financially on its own. Virtually all of its financial support by the U.S. Government has been eliminated.

Even so, it is still required to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and service. This is no small task ... from dangerous urban settings to the most remote residence in barely-inhabited areas, the Postal Service delivers.

This editorial is not propoganda, but a clear-eyed recognition of the importance of mail delivery in the United States and every community. While some naive observers believe email, texting, social media posts or UPS can serve every postal need, they aren't thinking it through.

Delivery services like UPS or FedEx have no requirement to serve all Americans at a uniform price. The cost of sending a letter today from Madison to arrive in Sioux Falls tomorrow through the Postal Service is 55 cents. To send the same letter through FedEx is $8.50.

Here's another consideration we hadn't thought about before until we read an editorial in a national newspaper: At the moment, a letter delivered by the Postal Service is the only available, truly private communication the modern citizen has. Every electronic communication requires the identity of both parties, and many times the content of the communication, to be revealed to a third party.

We heartily support all efforts to preserve and enhance the Postal Service.

-- Jon M. Hunter