After years of deliberation, it’s official: Harriet Tubman is going on the U.S. twenty-dollar bill.
This is the federal government’s version of sticking a magnetic ribbon on your car that says “support our troops” or “save the whales” or “support our whales” – it’s a nice gesture that doesn’t change anyone’s life.
And I am so glad it’s happening.
First and foremost, because Harriet Tubman deserves more recognition. Maybe the buzz about her will get people to learn about her extraordinary life – Google Trends says that searches for “Harriet Tubman” grew by 4250% after the announcement was made.
Andrew Jackson is getting kicked off the twenty – well, not really, just bumped to a smaller image on the back. He opposed the national banking system, so I can’t imagine he’d be too upset about not getting top billing on a bill. And even if he did, should we care? Andrew Jackson was hugely racist, even by 1830s standards; he signed the Indian Removal Act which created the infamous Trail of Tears, and was a staunch defender of slavery. He also founded the modern Democratic Party, a fact that is incessantly annoying to Democrats today, which is why I’m reminding them in this sentence.
Andrew Jackson did pull off a stunning military victory in New Orleans that helped the U.S. win the War of 1812. Past that, though, his best accomplishment was this glorious head of hair:
Harriet Tubman, on the other hand, was a freedom fighter. She was born into slavery and not only figured out how to successfully escape, but ran at least 13 missions to rescue more people, and also built the Underground Railroad network of safe houses. And then she helped John Brown orchestrate his raid on Harper’s Ferry. And then she was a spy for the Union in the Civil War. And then she fought for women’s suffrage.
Right-wingers are abuzz that a gun-toting advocate for individual liberty is replacing a racist Democrat. But that’s not the point. This is the point:
Harriet Tubman is an American hero who is entirely deserving of the honor of being on the money.