Well, election season is upon us again, so don’t forget to vote over the summer.
In case you didn’t know, the incumbent is Alexander Hamilton, who has held the office for 86 years. He took it over when Andrew Jackson quit to become the $20 bill.
And in case you don’t know who Alexander Hamilton was, he was the first guy to be shot by a vice president of the United States, a feat that wasn’t repeated until over two centuries later, when Harry Whittington accomplished it by getting shot in the face by Dick Cheney.
I think Hamilton did some other minor stuff, too. Whittington, on the other hand, was the head of the powerful Texas Funeral Service Commission, whose mission, according to its website, is to…
…protect the public from deceptive practices in the funeral and death care industry through a process of impartial enforcement, inspection, licensing and education in order to guarantee every citizen’s final disposition is conducted professionally and ethically.
Well, first of all, I assume my “final disposition” will be slightly less grumpy than it is now. And as euphemisms go, “death care industry,” isn’t so great, is it? I mean, I don’t suppose “I’m a mortician” gets a warm welcome at parties, but I wouldn’t think “I’m a death care professional” would improve the person’s reception.
Where was I? Oh, right, the $10 bill. I went way off on a tangent there, didn’t I?
Anyway, the U.S. Treasury, of which the aforementioned Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary (what today we would call an “executive assistant”), has decided to let the public choose who will be on the $10 bill. The public may select anybody it wants, as long as the person:
…was a champion for democracy in the United States. The person should be iconic and have made a significant contribution to — or impact on — protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded.
Also, the Treasury wants the new person to be a woman because, so far, females have only been depicted on U.S. currency nobody uses. There’s one other qualification, and it’s something that might dissuade many folks from nominating themselves for the job.
You have to be dead.
It’s nice that the Treasury Department wants to get the public involved, but it is making a crucial error in not offering a pre-selected slate of candidates. You can’t just leave something like this open-ended or the American public is likely to decide to put Princess Leia (in the bikini) on our currency. Plus you’ll have all sorts of special interest groups campaigning for their selections, and I’d hate to see someone like Betty Crocker on my money just because the Tea Party got behind her.
Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman are considered the early frontrunners. A bunch of suffragists (Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt) have also been mentioned, but they’ll probably split the support that comes from people who believe women should be allowed to vote. And, besides, we’ve already got Susan B. Anthony on those weird $1 coins that were only ever used in casinos. And, frankly, she never looked pleased about being on money anyway.
The Treasury would probably love to use Parks or Tubman, since either of them would, um, how can I put this delicately, kill two birds with one note, if you get my drift. Sure, why not satisfy two groups at once?
Fair enough, but I’d like to nominate someone whose name hasn’t been mentioned at all, and who should receive serious consideration. She meets all the criteria (even the one in the last paragraph, which the Treasury Department itself hasn’t mentioned but you know it’s thinking). Plus, she wasn’t a politician, or a radical, or someone that will remind people in the south of happier times (“I refuse to carry this $10 Rosa Parks bill–give me two fives. Oh, wait, that’s Lincoln, the asswipe. Give me 10 singles.”)
And my nominee has one additional asset that will offer a marked improvement for our money. Look at the bills in your wallet. What do all the portraits have in common? Yes, that’s right–they’re all butt ugly. And I’ve seen some proposed designs for a Tubman bill or a Roosevelt and, no offense, ladies, but really, Ben Franklin is a better-looking woman.
So here’s my nomination, which I make in all seriousness:
She was a cultural icon, a ground-breaking performer and a civil rights activist. And, not incidentally, she was gorgeous.
Now, there’s one other thing I should mention. The Treasury Department has made it clear that the image of Alexander Hamilton will somehow remain part of the $10 note. So when you vote for a woman to be on the bill, try to imagine what she’ll look like kissing Hamilton.
See you soon.