Changes To The $20   It appears some conservatives are upset that Andrew Jackson is being kicked off the front of the $20 and will be replaced by Harriet Tubman. I believe that the Treasury Department should try to bring everyone together. England has an old queen that everyone loves on their currency and no one whines about it. They seem pretty happy. It is why America needs their own old queen that everyone loves on our greenbacks. I nominate Atlanta’s old queen, Elton John. Whose day would not be brighter with Elton John peering back at us on our money? We might trust in God, but Elton makes us want to crocodile rock.   But seriously, how racist or just naturally angry at the world do you have to be to get worked up that Harriet Tubman is replacing Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20? It is not like he is off the bill completely. The Treasury Department did not kick him to the curb completely. Like any good slave owner, he’ll be on the backside of a former slave.  (Sorry folks, too easy of a joke to make.) I guess white people are not used to being bumped to the back of anything.   I personally could care less.  You could put Bozo the Clown swapping spit with Betty Boop on the front of the $20 and Bo and Luke Duke in the General Lee leaping a washed out bridge on the back and, if the cashier at the store takes it, I would be fine with it.   In an age where debit cards and whatever smart phone app is quickly replacing cash, Andrew Jackson’s demotion is hitting a lot of old white people hard. Granted, they could maybe only spit out two or three facts regarding Old Hickory, Jackson’s nickname. Can YOU name why Jackson is so famous? Maybe it was his victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans after the War of 1812 had already been over. Possibly they could name the Trail of Tears. Thousands of peaceful Native Americans died when they were illegally removed from their homes and forcibly marched to Oklahoma. Nobody should be forced to live in Oklahoma. Most of this happened under his successor, Martin Van Buren.    Maybe it is the fact that most Americans were taught history in high school by thousands of different teachers with the same first name, Coach. If it was not for movies, television and pop culture, most Americans would probably not know a thing about our past. Not since 1953 has there been a major motion picture on Jackson’s life and almost as long since Johnny Horton crooned about Old Hickory’s victory at New Orleans. One would think that if having him on the $20 was so earthshakingly important the average American would know a bit more about his life.   But then again, if Americans knew their own history, the people screaming about Jackson being removed from the front of the bill would also probably know that he had not always been on the $20. He replaced Grover Cleveland, no not the puppet on Sesame Street, but the former president. Yes, we had a president named Grover. Grover Cleveland’s main claim to fame? He had a cool mustache, wasn’t nearly as fat was William Howard Taft, and had a child out of wedlock. He was basically Bill Clinton a century before Bill Clinton was slipping and falling on interns. The main difference, Cleveland married one of his cuddle bunnies when he was in the White House. He was 49 and she was 21, the youngest First Lady in this nation’s history, when they got married during his first term. Other than that, he is the only president to serve two non-concurrent terms and there is a great story regarding how he disappeared for five days to have a secret surgery on a yacht to remove a cancerous tumor from the roof of his mouth while in office.  Not exactly the kind of inspirational stuff to merit putting him on our money.   Before Jackson and Cleveland; George Washington, John Marshall (Who? A Supreme Court justice.), Daniel Manning (Who? Not the Kansas basketball player, but the 37 th  Secretary of the Treasury.), Hugh McCulloch (Who? Another Secretary of the Treasury.), Stephen Decatur (Who? A naval war hero.), James Garfield (Who? Not the lasagna-loving cartoon cat, but another minor president whose main claim to fame is he got assassinated), Alexander Hamilton, an eagle, and Lady Liberty all graced the front of $20s at one time or another.  What is the only difference between their replacements and Jackson’s? We have not changed the $20 for a few decades.   If we knew our history better, Americans would probably wryly smile that Andrew Jackson was placed on the $20 in the first place, an honor he would not have liked. Much like the Oklahoma City airport being named after Will Rogers, a man who died in an airplane accident, the monument of the Crazy Horse, a warrior that fought his entire life to keep white people out of the Black Hills, being carved in the Black Hills to draw in white tourists, and the Massachusetts State House that has an entrance named after Civil War General Joseph Hooker called the General Hooker Entrance that state lawmakers walk through on their way to work, Andrew Jackson being on our currency is a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. He was not a fan of the central federal bank, or the devil’s Bank as he called it, which he smashed upon coming into office because he felt it was only there to help the wealthy and hurt average Americans. This action probably led to the depression known as the Panic of 1837. I am sure if Andrew Jackson could speak today he would tell conservatives the biggest honor they could pay him is to remove his likeness from our currency.    Andrew Jackson was a mercurial tempered, bombastic, argumentative gentleman who never met an occasion that could not be made better by a gun being pulled. Okay, maybe I grasp why conservatives are so angry about his removal from the $20. Not only was he a war hero, he was involved in anywhere between ten and a hundred duels, most of which ended with both participants firing their guns in the air, although Jackson did carry a bullet in his chest for most of his life from one of these duels.  He lived in a very black-and-white world that often caused him to come into conflict with his own supporters. He did some great things and some things that it would be hard for anyone to see as anything but horrible, which is why some people see his removal from the $20 as another example of political correctness run amuck.   If you see the world in black-and-white, you miss the nuances in life. We are coming up on the centennial of one of the most important events in the history of this nation, women gaining the right to vote. It took a century-and-a-half for the American people to realize that those wonderful words “all men are created equal” also included women. All of my great-grandmothers were born into a world where they were considered second-class citizens, not worth enough to have a voice in who represented them in the government.   It would be hard to argue that women going to the polls did not transform the twentieth century. Politicians, in order to garner their votes, had to address their concerns and issues. The progressive moment, the New Deal, Social Security, child labor laws, and almost every law that transformed Americans lives for the better can be traced to women being allowed to claim their full rights as citizens.     The Treasury Department wanted to honor this transformational moment. Rather than invent another coin that no one wants to use, what would be better than to show this equality than putting heroic females on the currency people use. Trying to get the public involved, they came up with a list of twenty women that have impacted American history and let people vote on it.  (One of the women on the list was Wilma Mankiller. Can you imagine how conservatives would have flipped out if someone named Mankiller made it on our money? I am pretty sure they think that is Hillary Clinton’s middle name.) Harriet Tubman, who helped over 300 slaves to freedom as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and performed heroically during the Civil War, received the most votes. She truly is the American Moses.   One can see Jackson’s demotion as political correctness, but it is rather a celebration of the most important American principle, “all men are created equal.” Harriet Tubman’s very life was the embodiment of this ideal, even when the rest of America struggled with the notion. Even after the Civil War, where blood had to be shed to recognize that African-Americans were fully human, she was a vocal proponent for women’s suffrage.  Although I doubt she could crocodile rock. 
Changes To The $20   It appears some conservatives are upset that Andrew Jackson is being kicked off the front of the $20 and will be replaced by Harriet Tubman. I believe that the Treasury Department should try to bring everyone together. England has an old queen that everyone loves on their currency and no one whines about it. They seem pretty happy. It is why America needs their own old queen that everyone loves on our greenbacks. I nominate Atlanta’s old queen, Elton John. Whose day would not be brighter with Elton John peering back at us on our money? We might trust in God, but Elton makes us want to crocodile rock.   But seriously, how racist or just naturally angry at the world do you have to be to get worked up that Harriet Tubman is replacing Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20? It is not like he is off the bill completely. The Treasury Department did not kick him to the curb completely. Like any good slave owner, he’ll be on the backside of a former slave.  (Sorry folks, too easy of a joke to make.) I guess white people are not used to being bumped to the back of anything.   I personally could care less.  You could put Bozo the Clown swapping spit with Betty Boop on the front of the $20 and Bo and Luke Duke in the General Lee leaping a washed out bridge on the back and, if the cashier at the store takes it, I would be fine with it.   In an age where debit cards and whatever smart phone app is quickly replacing cash, Andrew Jackson’s demotion is hitting a lot of old white people hard. Granted, they could maybe only spit out two or three facts regarding Old Hickory, Jackson’s nickname. Can YOU name why Jackson is so famous? Maybe it was his victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans after the War of 1812 had already been over. Possibly they could name the Trail of Tears. Thousands of peaceful Native Americans died when they were illegally removed from their homes and forcibly marched to Oklahoma. Nobody should be forced to live in Oklahoma. Most of this happened under his successor, Martin Van Buren.    Maybe it is the fact that most Americans were taught history in high school by thousands of different teachers with the same first name, Coach. If it was not for movies, television and pop culture, most Americans would probably not know a thing about our past. Not since 1953 has there been a major motion picture on Jackson’s life and almost as long since Johnny Horton crooned about Old Hickory’s victory at New Orleans. One would think that if having him on the $20 was so earthshakingly important the average American would know a bit more about his life.   But then again, if Americans knew their own history, the people screaming about Jackson being removed from the front of the bill would also probably know that he had not always been on the $20. He replaced Grover Cleveland, no not the puppet on Sesame Street, but the former president. Yes, we had a president named Grover. Grover Cleveland’s main claim to fame? He had a cool mustache, wasn’t nearly as fat was William Howard Taft, and had a child out of wedlock. He was basically Bill Clinton a century before Bill Clinton was slipping and falling on interns. The main difference, Cleveland married one of his cuddle bunnies when he was in the White House. He was 49 and she was 21, the youngest First Lady in this nation’s history, when they got married during his first term. Other than that, he is the only president to serve two non-concurrent terms and there is a great story regarding how he disappeared for five days to have a secret surgery on a yacht to remove a cancerous tumor from the roof of his mouth while in office.  Not exactly the kind of inspirational stuff to merit putting him on our money.   Before Jackson and Cleveland; George Washington, John Marshall (Who? A Supreme Court justice.), Daniel Manning (Who? Not the Kansas basketball player, but the 37 th   Secretary of the Treasury.), Hugh McCulloch (Who? Another Secretary of the Treasury.), Stephen Decatur (Who? A naval war hero.), James Garfield (Who? Not the lasagna-loving cartoon cat, but another minor president whose main claim to fame is he got assassinated), Alexander Hamilton, an eagle, and Lady Liberty all graced the front of $20s at one time or another.  What is the only difference between their replacements and Jackson’s? We have not changed the $20 for a few decades.   If we knew our history better, Americans would probably wryly smile that Andrew Jackson was placed on the $20 in the first place, an honor he would not have liked. Much like the Oklahoma City airport being named after Will Rogers, a man who died in an airplane accident, the monument of the Crazy Horse, a warrior that fought his entire life to keep white people out of the Black Hills, being carved in the Black Hills to draw in white tourists, and the Massachusetts State House that has an entrance named after Civil War General Joseph Hooker called the General Hooker Entrance that state lawmakers walk through on their way to work, Andrew Jackson being on our currency is a bit of tongue-in- cheek humor. He was not a fan of the central federal bank, or the devil’s Bank as he called it, which he smashed upon coming into office because he felt it was only there to help the wealthy and hurt average Americans. This action probably led to the depression known as the Panic of 1837. I am sure if Andrew Jackson could speak today he would tell conservatives the biggest honor they could pay him is to remove his likeness from our currency.    Andrew Jackson was a mercurial tempered, bombastic, argumentative gentleman who never met an occasion that could not be made better by a gun being pulled. Okay, maybe I grasp why conservatives are so angry about his removal from the $20. Not only was he a war hero, he was involved in anywhere between ten and a hundred duels, most of which ended with both participants firing their guns in the air, although Jackson did carry a bullet in his chest for most of his life from one of these duels.  He lived in a very black-and-white world that often caused him to come into conflict with his own supporters. He did some great things and some things that it would be hard for anyone to see as anything but horrible, which is why some people see his removal from the $20 as another example of political correctness run amuck.   If you see the world in black-and-white, you miss the nuances in life. We are coming up on the centennial of one of the most important events in the history of this nation, women gaining the right to vote. It took a century-and- a-half for the American people to realize that those wonderful words “all men are created equal” also included women. All of my great- grandmothers were born into a world where they were considered second-class citizens, not worth enough to have a voice in who represented them in the government.   It would be hard to argue that women going to the polls did not transform the twentieth century. Politicians, in order to garner their votes, had to address their concerns and issues. The progressive moment, the New Deal, Social Security, child labor laws, and almost every law that transformed Americans lives for the better can be traced to women being allowed to claim their full rights as citizens.     The Treasury Department wanted to honor this transformational moment. Rather than invent another coin that no one wants to use, what would be better than to show this equality than putting heroic females on the currency people use. Trying to get the public involved, they came up with a list of twenty women that have impacted American history and let people vote on it.  (One of the women on the list was Wilma Mankiller. Can you imagine how conservatives would have flipped out if someone named Mankiller made it on our money? I am pretty sure they think that is Hillary Clinton’s middle name.) Harriet Tubman, who helped over 300 slaves to freedom as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and performed heroically during the Civil War, received the most votes. She truly is the American Moses.   One can see Jackson’s demotion as political correctness, but it is rather a celebration of the most important American principle, “all men are created equal.” Harriet Tubman’s very life was the embodiment of this ideal, even when the rest of America struggled with the notion. Even after the Civil War, where blood had to be shed to recognize that African-Americans were fully human, she was a vocal proponent for women’s suffrage.  Although I doubt she could crocodile rock.