Soon, we will have a woman on our paper currency. The Treasury Department announced the move in June. The change will take place in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. You know the one. It’s one of the amendments that is not the Second Amendment: the one which gave women the right to vote.
Her face – we don’t know yet who’s face – will grace the $10 bill. Pseudo-historian David Barton, who was sane enough to recognize the Confederate flag has no place in our culture, totally was not feeling the woman on the money thing.
As Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch tells us, “David Barton was so outraged that he brought the National Review’s Quin Hillyer on to his ‘WallBuilders Live’ radio program today to explain why this decision is so ‘outrageous and ignorant.'”
Because “white male.”
For Hillyer, this represents an attempt to “erase our history.” Which is really funny coming from a conservative on a show hosted by a guy who makes his living re-writing our nation’s history. The irony is almost painful.
Hamilton has only been on the bill since 1929. Which, it must be admitted, means his face has been there longer than “One Nation Under God” has been in the Pledge of Allegiance. Longer than “In God We Trust” has been our national motto.
Let’s be honest (since Barton and Hillyer won’t). The Founding Fathers did not put Hamilton on the money.
In point of fact, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the new bill will have on it “a woman who has contributed to and represents the values of American democracy.”
“Our paper bills and the images of great American leaders and landmarks that they depict have long been a way for us to honor our past and discuss our values.” He went on to say that, “This decision of putting a woman on the $10 bill reflects our aspirations for the future as much as the reflections of the past.”
Sounds reasonable. Unless you’re from the National Review:
I think there is something worse afoot. You combine this with all sort of other things they’ve done and it looks to me like they literally want to erase our history, especially the respect in which our founding is held. They want to remake this country; in fact, as Obama said, to transform America and you don’t transform America from what it was without trying to erase what it was. And part of the erasure involves making everybody forget what the values were, what the principles were that guided our founding. And so they want to destroy respect for those values and principles and this is part of that mission.
People really do need to get outraged and stay outraged about this, because this isn’t just about a face on a bill, this is about maintaining, preserving, respecting, honoring the history, the good history of the greatest nation ever created on earth.”
Oh dear. Let’s all sigh together and recognize this for what it is: a white male whining about privilege lost.
Conservatism is, after all, about tradition, about maintaining the status quo. And the status quo is that white men matter. Everyone else is just tolerated. Kinda. Sorta. Well…some not at all. You know who you are.
And women, well…there is nothing traditional about women, is there? I mean, be fair: they haven’t been with us the entire time, right? They haven’t made any contribution toward the success of either our species or of this country.
While he-men like Hillyer and Barton went out hunting on the backs of their dinosaurs, women were, well, doing women stuff back at the cave.
Saying things this colossally stupid is, for me, like voting against a highway funding bill. It’s incomprehensible. If Republicans won’t vote for high speed rail (and they won’t) we kind of need roads. Such catastrophic ignorance should be illegal. It’s a wonder they can remember to breathe.
It was amazing to hear Barton last Thursday rage against the Confederate flag. He said something no Southern conservative wants to hear, that the Civil War “was not about states’ rights, it was about slavery.” It was almost as though he had a lucid moment.
Whatever it was, he got over it.
Barton says a woman and the treasury building features on the $10 bill don’t go together:
“I don’t think that’s quite the way our history went on that,” he said. “So we’ve forgotten even what the ten dollar bill is to commemorate, and that is our economic system and the Department of the Treasury…and now we’re trying to denigrate it and remove it? That’s nonsense.”
Apparently, the Treasury Building is more important than women.
Which brought Rush Limbaugh into the conversation, with co-host Rick Green remembering that Limbaugh used to always talk about “symbolism over substance.”
Well, the Treasury Building is a symbol, as Barton just admitted. Women are substance, not symbolism. The Treasury Building hasn’t done anything but be occupied by people.
Rick Green does not want us to forget “what Hamilton actually did,” and admittedly, Hamilton did quite a bit, and much as I hate to admit it, I agree with Barton. Jackson ought to go. Hamilton ought to stay.
None of that means, however, that a woman does not belong on our currency. Yet Green says the move is “shallow and politically expedient.” He insists this is a move toward having “a woman, any woman,” on our currency, despite Secretary Lew specifically stating that, “Our thinking is to select a woman who has played a major role in our history who represents the theme of democracy.”
So no, not just any woman. No more than just any man. And there are plenty of women worthy of the honor: Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, to name just a few.
Yet this decision, Green insists, is “bad news for the history of our country and the foundation and therefore the freedoms we’re trying to protect in the first place.”
The only thing shallow is white male thinking on this subject, that freedoms somehow don’t apply to women too. At least, the thinking of these three white males, who, unfortunately, are not alone.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.