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Jewish World Review Jan. 21, 2000 /14 Shevat, 5760

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter
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Numismadness -- IN RESPONSE to the dazzling success of the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the folks at the Treasury Department are minting a new $1 coin. They are not adopting the further measure of removing pennies from circulation, but a coin that you can actually buy something with is a step in the right direction.

Scheduled to make its debut on Feb. 1, the new coin will commemorate Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian squaw who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition on its historic trek to the Pacific coast. (As one commentator wrote -- yes, THAT Sacagawea.) Sacagawea is said to have acted as guide and translator on the expedition.

Except that she wasn't a guide, and apparently wasn't much of a translator either, since she didn't speak English. The actual work of translating to Lewis and Clark (the explorers) fell to her husband, who fortunately did speak English. Sacagawea met her husband when one Indian tribe abducted her from another Indian tribe and then traded her to a French Canadian who made her his wife. It is not actually known whether or not she was, in fact, a Shoshone.

So naturally, all this got me wondering: Over in the Congo or Beijing, are they minting coins to commemorate irrelevant white people? I bet not. Only the white man seems to have a gene for self-loathing.

Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with coins commemorating Indians. America has had about a dozen such coins, the last one being the buffalo nickel. George Washington was opposed to having his visage on a coin, believing it had the whiff of the monarchy. And Benedict Arnold's mug would be more pleasing than the one now gracing the dime.

The self-loathing evident in the Sacagawea coin episode consists of the total surrender to the illogical demands of the diversity lobby. Answer this: If it's insulting for football teams to be named after Indians, why is the PC crowd delightedly cheering the Indian mascot on the $1 coin?

The Dartmouth Indian was the beloved representative of the home team, not an insulting jeer thrown at hated rivals. As a law school colleague of mine once pointed out -- with a touch of envy -- it is a demonstrable tribute to the bravery and machismo of Indians to have sports teams named after them. No one, he noted, ever wanted to call a football team the "Jewish Accountants," the "Greenwich Welcome Wagon" or the "English Public School Boys." Football players crave titles such as the "Fighting Irish" or the "Dartmouth Indians" because they sound tough. (The latter, incidentally, has long been replaced by this fear-inspiring mascot: "the Big Green.")

But logic is irrelevant. Obeisance to the diversity lobbies is the fashion. Everyone in the entire nation is expected to denounce an Indian mascot on a sports jersey as a symbol of white oppression -- while simultaneously cheering an Indian mascot on a coin as a symbol of tolerance and inclusion. Both are completely arbitrary designations announced according to the whims of the thought police. But once the assignation is made, woe to the free-thinker who fails to see the emperor's new clothes!

The Sacagawea coin was the handiwork of the Diversity Star Chamber from beginning to end. After a bill to create a new dollar coin with the Statue of Liberty on one side and the American eagle on the other sailed through the House by a rousing 411-7 vote, Senators Barbara Boxer and Carol Moseley-Braun raised a ruckus about the coin. They complained -- incomprehensibly -- that Lady Liberty did not represent women. (At least not as well, apparently, as a non-English-speaking squaw, kidnapped from her tribe at 11, and subsequently traded to a French-Canadian for firewater or something.)

You do see the emperor's clothes, don't you?

As soon as our elected representatives spotted trouble on the warpath, they did what they always do: They gave the job to someone else. (Unlike almost everything else the Congress does, the Constitution grants Congress the express authority to coin money. So what are we paying these guys to do, again?)

The designated decision-maker, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, followed Congress' lead and appointed a committee to design the new coin, insisting only that it be the image of a woman. The coin committee consisted of a much-acclaimed diverse staff: four women, two Blacks, two Hispanics and exactly one actual authority on coins.

One woman on the committee objected to Lady Liberty on the grounds that she is "blonde." Another brushed off her own lack of numismatic expertise with the remark that "I'm not a coin collector, but I do go shopping." And that's how we ended up with the Sacagawea coin.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.


01/18/00: How dare you attack my wife!
01/14/00: The Gore Buggernaut
01/10/00: The paradox of discrimination law

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