I hadn’t initially noticed the dollar as anything remarkable. It came into my possession last Sunday, when I placed a bet at Saratoga Harness (yes, you can call it Saratoga Casino and Hotel, that’s fine).
And when I saw that someone had stamped the currency with a message, I initially thought it was one of those “Where’s George” dollars – you know, the ones where someone loads the dollar’s serial number onto a website, then rubber stamps a “Where’s George?” message on the bill, and then that person tracks the bill’s movement throughout the country. I get those sometimes, and I eventually put each one of them in vending machines for soda or snacks.
This bill, however, was different.
Take a look.
“Not to be used to bribe politicians.”
And along the bill’s border was a website URL. http://www.stmpr.me, along with a four-letter subsite to reference the original person who stamped these bills.
Okay … curiosity piqued.
And since I needed to make sure this wasn’t some trick to direct unsuspecting people to a hostile URL that would infect their computer with malware, or to lock my computer’s homepage to InfoWars or something, I took one for the team and went to stmpr.me to keep you updated.
Instead – I found a movement.
Apparently the Stampede is a grass-roots movement that uses stamped paper currency as a means to spread awareness of government bribery, lobbying abuses, special interest targeting, and voter manipulation. You stamp a bill, then you watch as that bill enters circulation. Eventually that bill ends up in the hands of someone else, who then goes to the website to track the currency’s progress – and, at the same time, visits the website’s FAQ’s and webpages for more information on government corruption and financial manipulation.
And wait until you hear who’s behind this project.
It’s the ice cream magnates, Ben and Jerry.
This is something.
So I followed the rules. I went to the website, entered my dollar bill’s serial number – found out it came from a stamping participant in Albany. I then listed the bill as to where I acquired it (by the way, the horse I bet on paid off nicely), took a picture of the bill for my blog, and then stuffed the bill in a vending machine for a diet cola.
So the bill’s now on its journey to another participant, with its message still intact.
Will I ever see another bill like this? Probably. Heck, I’ve seen several “Where’s George” dollar bills in my time, and I’ll probably see more.
But to use the legal tender of the realm for political messages …
It almost reminds me of the title of an old Jean Shepherd story.
“In God We Trust … All Others Pay Cash.”
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