When the Treasury Department announced on June 17 that a woman would be featured on paper currency for the first time since Martha Washington in the late 1800s, Americans suggested everyone from Beyoncé to Harriet Tubman. But their opinions, though equally important, are not as influential as those of the candidates running for president. By requiring presidential aspirants to name a woman for the new $10 bill that best represents their values, voters can learn a lot from the candidate’s choice about their ideology and level of honesty.
In the most recent Republican debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) suggested Rosa Parks for the $10 bill. However, Parks does not represent Cruz’s values. Parks was a key player in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but when running for the Senate in 2012, Cruz stated he wants to alter the landmark legislation. Additionally, Parks served as a board member of Planned Parenthood — the same organization that Cruz has vowed to defund.
Parks remains a formidable candidate for the new $10 bill. In Cruz’s own words, she was “a principled pioneer that helped change this country.” But Cruz and every other candidate running for president should not suggest a beloved American icon and then actively fight or campaign against what she believed in.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had a better answer of Margaret Thatcher despite her lacking the requirement of being an American. Bush believes in many of Thatcher’s conservative principles, giving voters some sense of how he would govern.
Candidates who don’t offer a suggestion are just as bad. The two women running, businesswoman Carly Fiorina and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both failed to name one woman for the honor. Fiorina’s defense was that adding a woman to paper currency would not change women’s history and that “we ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group.”
Meanwhile, Clinton maintained the possibilities are endless but never offered a choice. Fiorina’s and Clinton’s suggestions matter more than any other candidates’ because they could become the first female president of the United States.
Choosing a woman to honor on the new $10 bill is not a difficult task. However, choosing a woman who best represents the candidate’s values may prove to be difficult. Presidential aspirants owe it to the American people to take a few minutes out of their day to do some research and then offer their two cents on which woman they would like to see on the $10 bill.
Poludniak is an international relations and global studies sophomore from San Antonio.