I get it. There are nothing but dead white guys on American currency and coins.
And at least three dead white guys are double dippers. Abraham Lincoln is on the penny and the $5 bill. Thomas Jefferson is on the nickel and $2 bill. George Washington is on the quarter and $1 bill.
There is a battle royal going on that would be the envy of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr duel fans to get a woman’s image on federal notes. Originally whatever dead woman — federal law currently prohibits an image of a living person from being used on currency — is picked was going to grace the $10 bill. But then Lin-Manuel Miranda went and made Hamilton hip and wildly popular by rolling out a Broadway rap musical that the cheapest ticket costs a Benjamin Franklin, an Andrew Jackson, an Alexander Hamilton, an Abraham Lincoln, and four George Washingtons to see. Now there are Hamilton groupies reacting as if Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is channeling Aaron Burr by trying to kill off the first Secretary of the Treasury all over again.
Lew has tried to appease them by inferring Hamilton might stay on the front of the $10 bill while a woman could go on the back where an image of the United States Treasury appears. Immediately that strategy earned Lew slams for trying to do to women what a Montgomery, Alabama bus driver did to Rosa Parks.
Meanwhile, there are women groups out there that view any female gracing the $10 bill as a slap in the face because $20 bills are in greater circulation. Given that Andrew Jackson is from a border state that means he could be fair game for the politically correct crowd to dis by claiming he could be considered a borderline Confederate. It would take some tweaking of Jackson’s views but that’s never stopped PC folks hell-bent on pushing their agenda. Once Jackson is discredited, the $20 bill’s front is open to satisfy the barbarians at the gate of the U.S. Mint.
But what woman should go on the $20 bill? Eleanor Roosevelt? Harriet Tubman? Ophelia Wyatt Caraway? Jeanette Rankin? Susan B. Anthony?
Yeah, I know. Susan B. Anthony had her day in the cash register as she was on the dollar coin. But be serious. Dollar coins get as much use and respect as a $2 bill.
Speaking of $2 bills, where is the cry and hue among the Erase-All-Traces-of-History movement on college campuses? Jefferson had slaves. It would be immoral for the Secretary of Treasury to condone the continued use of Jefferson’s image on the $2 bill.
Instead of trying to sort through the political correctness of dead people to determine who Americans should be buying everything from beer and cigarettes to condoms with maybe the Treasury can go with non-existent people that have captured America’s fancy over the years. Fred Flintstone, George Jetson, Wilma Jetson, Homer Simpson, and Marge Simpson to name a few. Or perhaps they could go with a fictional character that represents American sentiment toward the ruling class — elected and otherwise — today in Washington, D.C. Mr. Magoo, Daffy Duck, and Mickey Mouse are a few candidates for currency cover shots that come to mind.
And while we’re on the subject of political correctness, why are we celebrating Ulysses S. Grant who — at the very best — was a borderline alcoholic by having his image on the $50 bill. So what if he was the commanding general of the Union Army during the Civil War and later the 18th president. Wait, that’s even worse. Grant was familiar with booze, guns, and politics. Is this a guy we’d want on our currency in today’s world where alcohol is taxed as a sin, guns are considered the root of all evil and American politics have reverted back to the civility levels of the early 19th century?
And what about the race factor? There are no images of people of any other color than white on our coins and bills. And were any of them transgender, gay or at least bisexual? How can we allow dead while males that apparently are all straight with flaws wider than the Mississippi River pass through the hands of innocent and impressionable children when they are buying the latest edition of Call to Duty, plunking down coin to see an R-rated movie with overt sex situations and gratuitous violence or purchasing pot from their friendly neighborhood dealer?
If Lew thinks he has his hands full with women demanding a female image be used on the currency that is the favorite of drug cartels and terrorists worldwide, wait until the separation of church and God extremists realize that they’ve been carrying around a subliminal message in their wallets and purses as the words “In God We Trust” is on the same greenbacks with dead white men.
Frankly, as Ben Franklin might point out, Lew and everyone else firing volleys in the Great Money Makeover War of 2016 should be more worried about why a penny saved is no longer a penny earned anymore.
For all I care you could put the Three Stooges on the $20 bill, Phyllis Diller on the $10 bill, and Rodney Dangerfield on the $2 bill — since that greenback denomination also doesn’t get any respect — as long as a dollar buys what a dollar should.
A penny for your thoughts is practically worthless, a nickel isn’t worth a plug nickel, and a beggar won’t even ask for a dime anymore.
Perhaps folks in Washington should spend more time worrying about making sure a dollar is worth something instead of fighting over what it looks like.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.