Sunday, October 09, 2005

Nickel Change

“Josephine March” noted this today ( I couldn’t pass it up: How many public servants does it take to change a nickel?

A lot. The new Jefferson 1800 nickel, due to be released in the Year 6, involved a panel from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Commission for Fine Arts, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, the esteemed Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the US Mint, the entire Congress, and the President of the United States, who had to approve the whole new Westward Journey Nickel Series. You can read the Treasury’s press release

The third President’s iconic 5¢ image has been changed. For the first time, Thomas Jefferson is facing outward.

Jefferson himself is such a flexible icon, equally useful for Democrats and Republicans (although the Democrats seem to “own” him); businesspeople and socialists, men and women, and people of every color. He and his family – right down to the present day – can be said to be the nation’s first Kennedys…perennially entertaining and controversial.

He’s so hard to pin down. He wrote so much (and written it all so well), virtually everything he said has been continually displayed, arranged, and re-arranged for one purpose or another, including marketing and advertising. Newspaper people hardly know what to do with him. On the one hand, he wrote, “I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.” On the other, he said, “No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.”

I can’t top Josephine March’s joke. I do offer an additional thought about our Third President’s legacy: One pundit fits all.

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