Monday, April 18, 2016

So long Andy-J!

Finally, right? Huh? Finally what? You know, you could just agree with me, it's not like I've ever steered you wrong. But if you must know, it looks like Treasury Secretary Jack Lew might be announcing this week that noted slave-holder and President Andrew 'Trail of Tears' Jackson's days as the face of the twenty dollar bill might be numbered. Well, numbered very high or maybe not at all, but hang on, well get to that.
Well it's about time some white male
Presidents got some recognition...
You might remember that a while back there was a grass roots campaign to kick Andy J-yeah, that's what I'm calling him now-off the $20 and replace him with an historically important woman. It was called Women on 20's which, while not super imaginatively named, got right to the crux of it by saying hey, how come there's a slaveholding genocidal maniac on the twenty and not say a notable American woman? After all, there's like six commonly used American bills and not one of them features a woman. Yeah, ok, Sacagawea was on the dollar coin and so was Susan B. Anthony but now they put the presidents on those as well.

Pictured: Jack Lew reminding
women to keep expectations low.
Women on 20's gave supporters the opportunity to vote for who should be the new face that comes spurting out of ATM's and Harriet Tubman won. People got excited, it made the news and even the Treasury Secretary took notice. Lew's response: 

'Great idea ladies, but instead of the twenty, what if it was the ten? And instead of a woman on all the tens, how about just some. They'll be more special that way.'

-Jack Lew, Secretary of the Treasury

Yeah, ok, I'm paraphrasing here, but the gist was that the $10 was the next one up for a redesign, so since we're changing it anyway, let's throw half the population a bone and put a woman on a portion of the tens. Yeah, some of them. Alexander Hamilton, first Treasury Secretary and man, would still be on the rest.
"Are you kidding me? This is bullshit."
-Harriet Tubman-what? 
Yes, paraphrasing agin* 
Pictured: The cast of Hamilton not
singing about Andrew Jackson.
So why the sudden change of heart? I wish it was because Lew saw what a lame-ass consolation prize a few $10 bills were to the Women on 20's campaign, but it could just as easily be because of the pro-Hamilton backlash. Yes, there are apparently a ton of Hamilton fans out there and they were outraged that the guy that invented the U.S. Department of the Treasury would lose his spot on the money while the asshole that invented the Indian Removal Act gets to keep his. Also, it doesn't hurt that Hamilton is the subject of a super-sucessful Broadway musical staring a multi-racial cast and that Jackson, you know, isn't.

Or some kind of barter system using
canned goods and recycled urine?
Ok, finally. We get a woman on the twenty-dollar bill, the anti-slavery Alexander Hamilton gets to keep the front of the $10 and in a surprise move, Secretary Lew announced that reverse of the ten-ski will be replaced with a mural celebrating the suffrage movement. Good job! Everybody's happy right? Yes....except no. It turns out the $20 with a woman on it won't be issued until at least 2030. Yes, 20 goddamn 30 also known as the future. I mean, will we even have paper money then? Won't we all use space credits or something?

Hmm...pretty needs
something, maybe more balls?
As for the 'mural on the back of the $10' idea, Susan Ades Stone and Barbara Ortiz Howard from Women on 20's have sent an open letter to Lew expressing how incredibly weaksauce his plan is:

"...we fear that you believe the public will be satisfied with giving women nothing but a cameo role on the back of a minor bill. It will take a microscope to see who those individuals are, and we'll be left with another decade or more of woefully inadequate representation of women and their worth."
A microscope? That's preposterous. Everyone could simply carry
around a powerful magnifying lens or a jeweler's loupe if they want see
how much we value the contributions of women in American history.
"A woman? On the money? Impossible! It'd take
years just to work out the lipstick shading."
-The U.S. Bureau of 
Engraving and Printing
They go on to compare the back of the bill to the back of the bus as in Rosa Park's bus which, while I'm both a man and white, sounds about right. So what's the problem here? According to the CNN article, someone at the Treasury says that the long wait for the new twenty is due to the time it takes to design the bill with adequate anti-counterfeit measures. A decade? Seriously? We built the entire Hoover dam in four years, but you mean to tell me we can't start cranking out Tubman twenties and Eleanore Roosevelt tens before the new Star Wars trilogy is over? Poppycock I say. Poppycock and balderdash. 

*fine, not an actual quote...that I can prove. She lived to be like 91, she must have said something like that at some point in her life.

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