Monday, June 22, 2015

Leave My Hamilton Alone...for now.

I'm not at all happy about the change in the $10 bill.

For one thing, I can think of no other who is more worthy of being on a paper dollar than Alexander Hamilton.  

If anyone deserves the boot, it is Jackson; through the lens of history, it is hard to find much redeeming in him or his legacy.   Perhaps we need a history refresher.

Setting that aside, I'm generally disinclined with changes to our currency, though I do understand some of the reasoning.   Accepting it has to happen doesn't mean I have to like it.

There is some interesting -- and rather obscured -- history behind the selection of who will appear on the face our our currency, and the $10 bill is no different.   While not always an American President, their faces are most common on our currency.   But, there is precious little indication of how particular people (or an occasional animal) were chosen.   But, to be fair, I kind of like mystery; I'm just not happy about it in my government.

I could be swayed toward proactively and deliberately diversifying the WASPiness of our currency.   But, I'm not comfortable with the idea that the WASPs have determined -- in a mysterious way -- how we should diversify.

By mandating the change, and how it will be changed, it automatically diminishes its value.   I'm not suggesting that the whosoever intended to simply give lip service (pun intended) to the choice of a woman on our currency, but that will be the effect.   In essence, "It wasn't the best person; rather it was the best woman."   Or less reserved "It should have been 'Joe The Plumber,' but congress said it had to be a woman, so we ended up with 'Rosie The Riveter'."

Far more importantly, the seeming unilateral decision is missing an opportunity to engage our youth in government.  Let's set some parameters (they can't be alive, they had to have had at least XX years of service, they can't be a WASP (OK, that last one may not fly), etc.) and ask our nation's high school students to pitch their ideas.   Then you can form a group at the state level to select three winners, for presentation at a national forum.   Have a nationally assembled group narrow it down to a handful and then hold national elections in our high schools, and let majority win.

This is the opportunity for our students--who are becoming increasingly disenfranchised--to become engaged in a way that allows their voice (at the least the voice of their generation) to be heard.

But, you don't have to stop there; there are lessons throughout the process.   There has to be voting systems (think app development), rules for how the process should proceed (political science and civics).   The selection choice will lean heavily on history.    Then there is the campaigning.   Last but, not least, after the selection is made, the bills have to be made and when push comes to show, it mechanical, and can involve what we once called "vo-tech" hands-on type classes and students.

First, lets, leave Hamilton alone.   But beyond that, let's allow our society to get involved in the decisions of our country.   We can take this step to help stop the backward slide, and engage our youth, and in doing so engage our society.

There is ABSOLUTELY no reason why this decision has to be made by a few, when it can be practically and meaningfully be made by the many.

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