The United States Treasury Department announced changes regarding who will appear on our currency.
Don’t worry, the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar and dollar (both Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea versions) are all safe. The same applies to the $1, $50 and $100 bills.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday announced changes to both keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill and to knock Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 in favor of Harriet Tubman. (Politico)
I can accept Harriet Tubman appearing on some sort of U.S. currency. I’m not a sexist. She was a Civil War hero that helped create stepping stones toward the abolition of slavery as well as toward ending women’s suffrage. But, I have a small question: who is so hurt and so offended by Andrew Jackson? What did he ever do to hurt them in today’s world?
Sure, many leaders throughout the history of the world (part 1, only) have broken laws and did whatever they could to reach the top. Yet, we praise them for being President of the United States or ruling an empire in Europe or in some other capacity. This brings me to my next point:
Lew is expected to roll out a set of changes that also include putting leaders of the women’s suffrage movement on the back of the $10 bill, and incorporating civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history into the $5 bill. (Politico)
Now, I’m not personally advocating for any changes on our currency. However, I’m sure that the following issues have been solved and put away for good: the war in the Middle East, ending world hunger, a well-established immigration program, the minimum wage having been increased to $15/hour, and our judicial system locked away all of the worst criminals. I’m just naming a few.
Whew! Now we can focus on the real tough problems that we face today: changing what is displayed on our money.
I’m wondering about Abraham Lincoln and the $5 bill. I swear I paid attention in history class all throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I thought he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Didn’t this “free” slaves? Why is the Treasury going to depict civil rights era leaders on the $5 bill when Lincoln did so much for civil rights? You’d think he was important enough to be left on the bill.
Will Lincoln still have sole ownership on the $5 bill? If not, with whom will he share? Will he be placed on the back of the $5 bill at all? Is this a case of white privilege that some have expressed about our presidents? Okay, I’m sorry if I ruffled feathers for a few out there, but I don’t want to be politically incorrect. I can’t live with myself if that were to happen.
What about the thought that history is being erased with this change? Are we altering our history in getting rid of any historical figures from our currency? This looks to be the case because many feel the need to have a woman, and especially a woman of color, to show some sort of gender equality. Again, I’m accepting of the heroism that Harriet Tubman exhibited as a spy during the Civil War. However, there’s a woman of color already on American currency that gets nearly ZERO discussion. That would be Sacagawea on the gold one-dollar coin.
Where do we draw the line in who we should have on our dollar bills? Celebrity seems to be the driving force, but there are so many other historical figures that barely get consideration for being remembered on a piece of paper. For example, you could make cases for Neil Armstrong, Booker T. Washington, Jeanette Rankin, Mother Theresa, Clara Barton, and Florence Nightengale. There are many others out there, but again, where do you draw the line?
What are your thoughts? Should there be any changes at all? If so, what would you change? Is this a story about nothing? Perhaps we should play the Seinfeld theme song while reading this and make it more interesting. Just a thought.