The continuing political divide in the United States between Republicans and Democrats has widened over the past few decades, in part because of competing media outlets that espouse the different political beliefs between cable networks presenting the news.
MSNBC has been derided as an outlet for Democrats to champion their causes, while the Republican point of view has been seen most prominently on the Fox News Channel. In the latter case, that’s led to a steady stream of criticism directed at President Barack Obama, a Democrat, from individuals who regularly appear on the network.
One of those individuals, Greta Van Susteren, criticized the government’s decision to replace the image of former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with that of slave abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
During the “Off the Record” segment of her nightly show on April 20, Van Susteren took exception to the decision, saying that the Obama administration “went stupid for no reason” in making the decision.
Describing herself as a feminist, Van Susteren expressed her belief that the decision was dividing the country by removing Jackson. While expressing her admiration of Tubman’s efforts to aid slaves via the Underground Railroad, Van Susteren suggested that a new bill should be created to honor her, such as a $25 bill.
Offering such an option would help avoid stirring up “needless conflict” in the United States, according to Van Susteren.
The decision by the administration was in conjunction with other plans that would offer blind individuals the opportunity to have tactile indicators on bills to allow them the opportunity to be aware of what bills they’re using.
In addition, other reasons included security features that would make him even more difficult to counterfeit any bills. Finally, the need to address the omission of women from any such bills was also offered as a basis for the decision. Prior to this decision, only Susan B. Anthony had been depicted on any United State money, a $1 coin that’s been largely ignored and is seen as more of a collector’s item.
Critics have charged that no such controversy exists, with most individuals more concerned with simply having as many bills as possible in contrast to what person is depicted on a particular type of currency.
Some other critics have focused on Jackson’s controversial life as a reason to remove his image from the $20 bill, citing his ownership of slaves and support for continuing the practice as the key reasons.
During his presidency, Jackson also signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which forced Native Americans off their land. During the subsequent departure that’s been dubbed the “Trail of Tears,” more than 2,000 Native Americans died.
At the September 2015 Republican debate, each of the then-10 candidates was asked what woman they would choose for either the $10 or $20 bill. The only woman to be selected more than once was civil rights icon Rosa Parks. The only woman among that field of 10 candidates, Carly Fiorina, dismissed the concept as a token gesture.
Despite the decision, the change won’t officially take place until 2020 when the new $20 will be unveiled. That timing is to recognize the centennial anniversary of women earning the right to vote.
Two other bills will also undergo changes, with Abraham Lincoln remaining on the front of the $5 bill. On the back will be memorable events that took place at the Lincoln Memorial. Meanwhile, Alexander Hamilton will stay on the front of $10 bill, while a number of different suffragists will be shown on the back