PARTSCH: Outrage over money change a waste of time
Raymond Partsch III
Harriet Tubman will grace the front of the $20 bill, and some folks are losing their minds.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced last month that the former slave, abolitionist, Civil War spy and nurse, Republican supporter and leader of the Underground Railroad would replace former U.S. President Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 by 2020.
That news didn’t go over too well for some.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, of Jackson’s home state of Tennessee, said in a statement, “United States history is not Andrew Jackson versus Harriet Tubman. It is unnecessary to diminish Jackson in order to honor Tubman. Jackson was the first common man to be elected president. He fought to save the Union. He defined an American era. He helped found the Democratic Party.”
Pat Buchanan added that changing the bill “is affirmative action that approaches the absurd. Whatever’s one’s admiration for Tubman and her cause, she is not the figure in history Jackson was.”
Even presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump called the move “political correctness” and said that Tubman should be placed on a different bill or have a new one created to bear her likeness.
Are we really wasting precious time being outraged by something as minuscule as this?
Look, I understand that no one appreciates, much less accepts change — in this state, the South, and for that matter the country as a whole. The history of our country is part of American’s national identity, and anything that threatens to change what we hold so dear in our hearts causes anxiety, fear and outrage.
But I also know the hard truth: That people wouldn’t be up in arms about this if Tubman was, for example, to appear on the $2 bill. In 2015 alone, there were 8.6 billion $20 bills in circulation. In comparison, the currency with founding father Thomas Jefferson on its face had a mere 1.1 billion in circulation.
Which also explains why I haven’t heard any blood curling cries of travesty and injustice for Grover Cleveland. The country’s 22nd and 24th President was the original face of the old double-sawbuck, the old term used to describe the bill, before he was replaced by Jackson in 1928. Cleveland was moved to the $1,000 bill that same year.
What about the fact that the $1,000 bill is no longer produced by the treasury? I mean, doesn’t that mean that we are trying to erase poor Old Grover from the history books with our new modern liberal revisionist history? Why are there no yells of political correctness being heard right now on his behalf?
And what about the other notable historical figures that once graced our currency that are no longer printed? There is 25th President William McKinley ($500 bill), founding father and 4th President James Madison ($5,000 bill), Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase ($10,000 bill) and 28th President Woodrow Wilson ($100,000 bill).
I mean, I don’t know about you, but don’t these unbelievable injustices just get your blood boiling?
I guess it is time to bear our arms (you know the ones that the government has been trying to take from us for decades), storm the capitol building in D.C. and revolt against the tyranny of our over-reaching federal government.
If the answer you came up with for that dripping-with-sarcasm question was anything but an astounding “no” then it is time for a CAT scan at the local mental health clinic.
I mean, come on, my conservative brethren, it is not as if changing the $20 bill is the equivalent of burning the flag, punching a bald eagle in its face, taking a leak on the Alamo and singing the national anthem Roseanne Barr-style all at the same time.
It is just a piece of paper and a form of payment that will become obsolete within the next fifty years.
With the meteoric rise of online shopping and banking, and the simple ability of not even having to purchase something in person from an establishment with a cash register, the importance of paper currency is really a non-issue.
I, for one, am okay with changing the bill.
I will admit that Jackson is one of the most fascinating political leaders in our country’s history, if not the most fascinating. He was an orphan at age 14, the hero of The Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, the first president born on the American Frontier. He took part in pistol duels, he defeated the Bank of the United States and was the first president from the Democratic Party.
Old Hickory was also a unabashed slave owner and his enforcement of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced Native Americans from the Southeast, which resulted in the infamous Trail of Tears, in which some ten thousand people perished from starvation and disease.
I will agree that Jackson’s importance to the country is undeniable, but his impact, like the majority of political and military leaders, is both commendable and deplorable at the same time.
The man currently on the $50 bill, for example, was a towering and heroic figure of the Civil War. But Ulysses S. Grant was also one of the most inept and failed presidents of all-time. Not to mention, that many a Southerner isn’t the biggest fan of the man who bested Robert E. Lee.
There was an attempt in 2010 by Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina to replace Grant with none other than Ronald Reagan, an attempt that failed.
So should we not be okay with changing something as simple as currency? Andrew Jackson will still be remembered, written about and discussed long after the $20 no longer bears his face.
On the front... that is.
Lost in all of the anguish is the fact that Jackson is actually sharing the bill with Tubman. While Tubman’s portrait will be printed on the front, Jackson will appear on the back. So it is not as if Jackson is being erased from the books.
If the change does anything it might, and I stress might, educate people about two historical figures that helped shape the future of our country, which apparently is desperately needed.
Google reported that interest in Tubman rose 4,250 percent after the announcement was made, including the search term ‘Who is Harriet Tubman?’
Now that is something to be incensed about, don’t you think? The fact that grown adults don’t know who Tubman is reveals a far larger and more pressing issue in our country than faces on currency. I have admittedly run into people in my adult life who also believe that two other faces of currency in this country, Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin, served as presidents.
So maybe changing the faces on the money isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Or maybe it doesn’t matter at all.
I mean, if the people who use the money don’t care enough to know who the people are on those bills, then why should anyone be upset about whose face is on the front or back?