February 17, 2011 – Allegedly, no one cares these days whose face can be seen on a coin. When looking at how in this country coins feature almost without exception established parts of European general education one is inclined to believe that. In the United States of America, however, a lively discussion is going on for years now if Ronald Reagan deserves his own coin – or not.
Official portrait of Ronald and Nancy Reagan from 1985. Source: Wikipedia.
Republican members of the Congress have already tabled several motions like – apart from at least four other attempts – the “Ronald Reagan Dime Act“ in 2003 as well as the “President Ronald Reagan $ 50 Bill Act“ in 2010. Only recently, the Republican Congress Man of Ohio, Robert Latta, has added the “Ronald Reagan Commemorative Coin Act of 2011“.
In this act he calls for the edition of 50,000 $ 5 coins in gold und 300,000 $ 10 coins in silver on the occasion of the centennial of Reagan’s birth in 2011 – albeit as late as 2017. The addition of $ 35 for the gold and $ 10 for the silver pieces will provide the government with a yield of roughly $ 4.75 million which are planned to be given to the “Army Emergency Relief”, a private donor organization with the aim to aid soldiers and their relatives in an unbureaucratic manner. This charity organization is connected with Reagan since he transferred the revenues of one of the over 400 training films he made during World War II by order of the Air Force to the very same organization.
German demonstrators burning an American flag in 1982. Source: Wikipedia.
All this seems amazing to a European. What makes this American president so extraordinary that a special coin in his honor is persistently demanded? In this country Ronald Regan is either known as an actor or as the man that, in his function as president, almost crushed the delicate balance of the Cold War. He is regarded the man willing to apply every means necessary to achieve the US American goals, derailing the peace negotiations between the USSR and the USA which were initiated when he assumed office, and having middle-range missiles stationed in the whole of Europe. He was the reason a militant European peace movement was established which made hundreds of thousands to take to the street.
Republican circles, however, rather see that daring venture as strong point. Reagan was aware of the economic weakness of the USSR and beggared them with the arms race. Glasnost, perestroika and Gorbatschev were only possible thanks to Reagan’s steeliness.
The portrait of Ronald Reagan on a coin hence becomes a political issue which points out how America today assesses his role in world history. At the same time, it makes clear what attitude is deemed appropriate for an American president. This is perhaps the reason why no motion trying to honor Ronald Reagan with his own coin portrait has proven successful so far. The latest motion, too, has to be approved by the House of Representatives, the US Senate, to be signed off by the president in the end.
For a detailed article on the motion please click here.
The life of Ronald Reagan – from the viewpoint of his admirers – bearing the telling title ‘Our Hero’ you find here.