In today's "Why we can't have nice things" news, Republican congressman Steve King filed a bill to nullify the Treasury Department's ability to change the designs on currency. The bill would have effectively blocked the department's plans to replace the image of former president and slave owner Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with famed Underground Railroad conductor and abolitionist Harriet Tubman — if it had been approved. Instead, the House Rules committee denied floor consideration of King's proposal, effectively killing the bill.
When asked about his decision to file the now-dead bill, King told a Politico reporter that it's not about criticizing Tubman, but rather, "it's about keeping the picture on the $20." He reportedly pulled out a $20 bill from his pocket and pointed at the picture of Andrew Jackson, saying "why would you want to change that? I am a conservative, I like to keep what we have."
In 2013, King, a representative from Iowa, grabbed headlines when he made disparaging remarks about the children of undocumented immigrants, saying that for every valedictorian born of undocumented parents, "there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." An upstanding gentleman, that Congressman King.
Following his remarks about his love of the Jackson 20 and "keeping what we have" or whatever, King went on to say that it's both "racist" and "sexist" to add a woman to the currency. He had some interesting ideas about the true motives behind the push to put Tubman and other women on bank notes:
Here's what's really happening: This is liberal activism on the part of the president that's trying to identify people by categories, and he's divided us on the lines of groups ... This is a divisive proposal on the part of the president, and mine's unifying. It says just don't change anything.
Unfortunately, King isn't the only opponent to the Tubman 20. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called the Treasury's decision to put the suffragette and abolitionist on the $20 note "pure political correctness," and suggested leaving Jackson on the 20 and creating a new denomination for Tubman or placing her on the $2 bill.
Comedian Samantha Bee hilariously took on Tubman 20 haters, calling former President Jackson "Donald Trump with better hair." Bee hit it on the head in this bit. Change may be difficult for those who insist on living in the past, but in 2016, America can't afford to let bigots keep the country from moving forward.
Image: Women on 20's (1)