The Abramiad, Part Two: "The Long Afternoon" (excerpt)

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“American banknotes are by common consent the world’s dullest,” he says almost dreamily as he fondles a handful of them.  “Uniform in size and shade, stamped with every species of politician from founding father to pioneer ward heeler, and not a single writer or artist...unchanging Freemason symbols and nary a reproduction of, say, a Thomas Eakins painting or a St. Gaudens sculpture by way of illustrating a really quite worthy patrimony...and yet...in even the most gruesome patch of turf on the planet, where by rights only food and fuel and bullets ought to have any currency, the greenback will still grease and/or turn the wheels of commerce.  Now tell me, Vietnam notwithstanding, that the United States isn’t still the city on a hill envisioned by that righteous pain in the ass Winthrop.”

“Ronald Reagan couldn’t have said it any better.  I mean, he really couldn’t.  You know, someone should really be following you with a tape recorder.”