Although Monday 2/16 has been designated “Presidents Day” (is it legally “President’s,” “Presidents’,” or “Presidents”? I’ve seen all three), today, February 12th, is the actual date of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. In fact, he’s 200 years old today. The other president whose birth we used to celebrate this month is the first (and infinitely superior) George W., born 2/22.
VD is 2/14, my mom was 2/13, and Guido is 2/24. The post office closes for none of these, though, and all three have cost me a lot of money over the years. Guido took advantage of a leap year and proposed marriage — she stripped naked, so most of my blood was diverted from my brain — on 2/29. February is just hell, I tell ya.
But back to Honest Abe. Millions of words have been written on Lincoln’s life and presidency, and he remains as revered today in much of the country as he was (and is) despised in parts of the former Confederacy. Today, his attitude toward Black people would have him drummed out of the Republican party and damned as an elitist liberal. A lawyer, no less.
You’ll find Lincoln’s face on the one-cent piece. Uniquely, the same individual appears on both sides of the coin, something true of no other coin in American history. It’s also worth noting that it costs 1.4 cents to make each penny: their manufacture is a negative-revenue activity. Only the United States government could literally lose money by making money. Certain economists predict the same negative ratio will soon be true of the dollar bill once the stimulus plan passes.
Lincoln was killed by an actor while watching a play. Ever since, the Republican party has been hostile to the arts, repeatedly attempting to kill appropriations for the National Endowment for the Arts. (They’re at it again right now, as you read this: there’s a $50 million allocation at stake.) “We need this expenditure like a hole in the head,” is their attitude.
Lee Harvey Oswald would understand.
PS If you’re googling “penny” for images, try this one, too. Warning: NSFW.