The online magazine Slate offered a novel proposal in the wake of the Treasury Department announcing Andrew Jackson’s departure from the face of the $20 dollar bill on Wednesday: let’s get President Barack Obama on a piece of currency.
The only question remaining is, according to Slate, “which white guy should Obama replace when we honor him on our currency?”
The piece’s writer Ben Mathis-Lilley answers that question with the third president and Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson.
After weighing the possibilities of removing John F. Kennedy and Ulysses Grant from their respective pieces of currency, Mathis-Lilley rules those two presidents “whose historic import is not quite as weighty.” The Slate writer believes it would be better to take off a slave owner, like Thomas Jefferson, than those two men.
“I would suggest it leaves Thomas Jefferson, who—in addition to having owned slaves and held demeaning views about racial “inferiority”—is already on two items of currency,” Mathis-Lilley argues. “To respect the positive elements of Jefferson’s legacy, let’s leave him on the $2, giving the nickel over to the first black president.”
He also believes slave-owning George Washington should get a similar treatment and possibly be replaced by Hillary Clinton if she becomes the first female president.
“[W]hile we’re at it, how about we make a symbolic statement about George Washington’s own mixed legacy by leaving him on the dollar but reserving the quarter for the first female president, Hillary Clinton?” the Slate writer asks.
As for why Obama should be honored on American currency, Mathis-Lilley confidently stated, “Obama is the United States’ most admirable, accomplished modern president” and that’s “a widely acknowledged fact.”