Since June 2020, the Trump-appointed Postmaster General has made strenuous efforts to undermine the USPS and slow deliveries. This will 1) make the USPS more vulnerable to privatization, 2) strike a blow at Amazon.com and its owner Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, 3) erode confidence in voting-by-mail, reducing the voter turnout, and 4) ultimately slow the count of mail-in ballots so that if necessary Trump can postpone defeat and cling to power longer.
You would think all that, and $1.2 million donated to the Trump Victory Fund, would add up to a good day’s work, but knowing President Trump’s demonstrated love of unfettered strongmen whose word is law, may we suggest a “Heroes of the White House” series of commemorative stamps.
François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, President of Haiti from 1957 to 1971. “God and the people are the source of all power. I have twice been given the power. I have taken it, and damn it, I will keep it forever.” His undercover death squad, the Tontons Macoutes, killed his opponents and crushed all dissent.
Lavrentiy Beria, the most influential of Stalin’s secret police chiefs, overseer of the vast expansion of the Gulag and secret detention facilities for scientists, and master of the Purge. “Let our enemies know that anyone who attempts to raise a hand against the will of our people, against the will of the party… will be mercilessly crushed and destroyed.”
Idi Amin Dada, the President of Uganda. One of the cruelest despots in world history, his rule was characterized by political repression, ethnic persecution, nepotism, corruption and fabulous economic mismanagement. He said, “In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.” Observers estimate that more than 300,000 Ugandans paid the price for greatness.
Augusto Pinochet. After his rise to power in Chile in 1973, his government “disappeared” 3,000 leftists, socialists, and political critics (the Desaparecidos), and arrested 30,000 more, torturing thousands.
Nicolae Ceaușescu, last Communist leader of Romania. Ceaușescu held all governing power. He controlled the media and press, and created his own personality cult, giving himself the title “Geniul din Carpați” (“The Genius of the Carpathians”). The most important day of the year was his birthday, when Romanians put on a happy face, as appearing sad on that day was too risky to contemplate.
Kim Il-sung, founder and leader of North Korea. Kim made all major policy decisions and appointments from 1948 to 1994. Enforcing respect, he had more than 30,000 people imprisoned for reasons such as printing his portrait on poor quality paper or wrapping parcels with newspapers bearing his picture. Dissent was punished by public executions and disappearances of the dissenters and their extended families.