If It’s About A Symbol, Let’s Start With Money

Frustrating things in 2020:

  • having a lion’s share chunk cut out of my church ministry by a virus
  • seeing the same Catholics whine about sacraments when they wanted to shut down viri probati in the Amazon and other places
  • hitting a wall with Catholics who could be attending to church teaching on liturgy and celebrating–not just livestreaming–the Word and/or the Hours at home. Seventy years of liturgical renewal backtracked in just a month. Sheesh.
  • soccer (well, everybody needs a guilty pleasure)
  • my archdiocese: great on personnel matters, somewhat tone-deaf and less competent on liturgy
  • seeing other men, even non-clergy churchmen be outed for adolescent behavior
  • seeing other whites coming up with silly, stupid, and racist things
  • seeing the same white men who wrung their lace cuffed hands over Kaep taking a knee having a major hissy as statues are coming down. Did they think it was going to last forever?
  • not being able to protest

I think a lot of Americans will continue to be dismayed at the coming down of statues. Granted, the southerners put up in the 20th century pretty much all need to come down. I don’t know if Civil War generals would have been enough the last round of outcry. But they likely won’t be enough today.

My thinking is that if Mr Biden grabs the White House in November, his Treasury Department needs to do a clean sweep of images on American money.

Harriet Tubman is a start. And despite my regard for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton needs to go too. I think white men can say that a century-plus on money was a good run. But it has to be over.

I think women and people of color need to populate the main faces of coinage and paper notes. I think scenes from history on the reverse, things like freed slaves on the underground railroad, Latino farm workers organizing under Chavez, Custer’s defeat at Little Big Horn, “I Have A Dream” speech.

Even if we went with American wonders like Crater Lake or Niagara Falls, I’m not sure that would be enough today. They did a good job of those on stamps in the 30s.

These lovely depictions would be excellent in color in full size on the reverse of paper money. Much better than national parks and monuments on quarters.

If political figures are too disturbing for white privilege, we could even start with artists and scientists. The Hidden Figures women.

Bottom line: the current money’s got to go. You can bet that if it doesn’t a lot of other symbols are coming down. And it might not be pretty.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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