I take it as a near-certainty that, assuming we’re still using physical currency throughout my life, some denomination of that currency will eventually feature Ronald Reagan. But where will he go? You can’t really evict Jefferson or Washington or Lincoln. Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Jackson seem more vulnerable, but somehow it’s the coins that really read as “inner-circle President” — would Reagan’s boosters really settle for grubby green pieces of linen, that get filthy and torn?
But here’s what would work. Put Reagan on the dime. Instead of Roosevelt? No — in addition to Roosevelt. Nobody cares about the shrubbery on the back of the dime. Roosevelt on the obverse, Reagan on the reverse. The two radical revisions of the American idea that shaped the 20th century, separated only by a thin disc of copper. A government big enough to crush Hitler versus a government small enough to drown in a bathtub. Now that’s a coin. Flipping that coin has stakes.