Thursday, August 6, 2020

Astounding Ignorance

Quick! Without looking it up, whose portrait is on a penny? A nickel? A dime? A quarter? A silver dollar? Do you know? 

How about a dollar? 5 dollar bill? 10? 20? 50? 100?

We handle money every day of our lives (well, these days maybe not), but isn’t it extraordinary that most of us could not answer all of the above? I couldn’t. Got the penny and quarter and dollar and ten dollar and twenty dollar without much thought and with a little bit of thought, came up with a few more. But it would have been a B- on a pop quiz.

Okay, now you can look it up. While you're at it, check out the $500 bill, $1000 bill and $10,000 bill. They exist. Not that they've ever passed through my hands.

This is our Jeopardy style ignorance, but there is a much more important one. Our own history. Quick! What was the Dred Scott decision? How did Rutherford Hayes get elected? What was Plessy vs Ferguson? Who were Sacco and Vanzetti? What happened to the murderers of Emmett Till? Who was Roy Cohn? When was the ERA ratified? (Trick question) Etc.

And joining these two themes, let’s make sure we get Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and put on Harriet Tubman as proposed (and now blocked by you-know-who). Time to put our mouth where our spoken values are and time to put our money where our mouth is.

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