Friday, April 22, 2016

Suffragettes, civil rights, and a sea change in American currency... perhaps - but perhaps not.

The currency of the American people is set for much change. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has announced plans to accommodate calls that have harkened back most potently, during the current presidency, of Barak Obama, for the dollar standard to embrace diversity. In the past, women have graced American currency for short periods, before the resonance of the call faltered, but a sea change of redesign is in the works, and this time it might just stick.

Harriet Tubman is set to grace the $20 bill, though the late figure will have to wait until 2020... or, some estimate, 2030 or later (if paper money is still being used then, and if possible future treasury secretaries stick to the plan). The choice of a woman with the word man in her surname was not a subtle troll by the treasury department. Tubman, unknown internationally, in America, is a heroic figure in her own right, she is without doubt worth her salt to grace the nation's salt, they say. The treasury suggested that her name resonated strongly with the American public, and that the former slave was an obvious choice to immortalise upon a symbol of the unstoppable dreadnaught of amoral Western capitalist endeavour, the same dreadnaught which cleanly ran over her rights to build America into an industrial power, when it relied on plantation profits to gain a footing in a then all too uncertain world. Given research suggesting that the dollar became a world currency, and the early American state gained world status, by means of horrid things such as slavery, perhaps the presence of a slave on the bill is fitting.

She, a woman of black ethnicity, a union spy, a former slave and abolitionist, is set to replace the slave owning, Native American forced relocation masterminding, industry loving President Andrew Jackson, after fans of founding father Alexander Hamilton, and the treasury, vetoed a plan to replace Hamilton's $10 mug, for the move. The move is not without controversy, with figures such as aspirant next president Mr The Donald Trump strongly lamenting the move to get rid of Andrew, who he says is a very important icon to the American people.

While America's first treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, is not being evicted by the current treasury secretary's shakeup, the $10 note is still set to undergo extensive changes. The suffragettes: Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony are set to replace a hitherto image of the treasury building, on the $10 bill. Amidst the suffragettes, Susan B. Anthony is not new to the party, she had been the visage of a short-lived $1 coin... until it went out of production.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr. and African American musician, Marian Anderson, the treasury assures, will be on the new $5 design.

So, next time, while on holiday overseas - in a place that accepts dollars as much as the local currency, when you buy some cheap product, made in appalling conditions in a nation, probably in Africa or Asia, without many protections for a poorly educated, possibly underage, overworked workforce, remember, you can rest easy... and pay with dollars that represent the best aspirations of humanity: abolition, universal suffrage, civil rights, etc. Money, after all, is what you make of it... for better or for worse. And perhaps, this time, the potent symbols planned for dollar notes, will actually stay there beyond the good publicity of the press release. If not, they join the noble graveyard of previous attempts, occupied by the likes of silver notes bearing the face of Martha Washington, who the average reader will no doubt instantly recognise as George's dear and much beloved wife - who will not be gracing any of the new notes, as it happens. Perhaps with the next redesign she will, or are we jumping the gun about even the current bunch of changes making it to ink? To quote the french: je ne sais pas !

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