When in May of 1951 my grandfather was assassinated by the Tumb-Tumb brothers, card-carrying members of the Fascist Party of the United States of America, Joseph McCarthy urged the president to pass the legislation that my grandfather had been pushing forward all his life: the Stamp Act of 1953.
To this day, thanks to the act, stamps have proselytized the glories of our nation; in the space the size of a large toenail, stamps crystallize the admirable qualities to which we should all aspire. This year’s new stamps emphasize friendship (Calvin and Hobbes), acting (Katherine Hepburn) and concrete-arch bridges (Bixby Creek), respectively.
The long wait is over: Finally the stamp collectors among us can update our “American Treasures” series with a stamp of artist Winslow Homer; our “Black Heritage” series, with a stamp of filmmaker Oscar Micheaux; and our “History of Colonialism” series with an unprecedented two stamps, one of the Hawaiian rain forest and one of the Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos, which go on to join one of my favorites, the 2008 St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. The gorgeous, vibrant quality of the 2008 St. John is reminiscent of this year’s stunning Mother Teresa, who comes in at a lean 44 cents.
The unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s 2010 Stamp Program, which was originally set to debut 20 years ago, is the latest unforgettable moment in the American journey. Historically yielding the second highest nationalism-per-square-centimeter-ratio, triumphed only by the flag pin, stamps are critical to how we peel, place and mail as Americans. It is nice to know that, thanks to Joseph McCarthy, the dream of America Reveiz, may he rest in peace, has allowed the USPS’s 2010 Stamp Program to unveil these beautiful, new, 23 American pieces of postage, and its crown jewel, the flag pin stamp.