Musings on $20


Each day since writing the last Stories and Journeys column, I have been checking the obituries in the newspapers I read. None of them are mine. So, here I go again.
Before starting to write this column I put a $20 bill beside my computer keyboard. Now I understand there are people in our society who believe that money is speech. I think they might be people with a lot of money with which to speak. Certainly not me. All I have is this $20 bill. For each of the last five days I picked up my $20 bill. I would ask it to speak to me. Each day I got no response. I started imagining that 'money-is-speech' people are delusional. Who are these people?
I did a Duck Duck Go search engine search. Under 'billionaires political influence' I found an article at headlined, "With 'Stealth Politics', Billionaires Make Sure Their Money Talks." Is that what money is speech means? Influencing elections!
What about you dear reader? Do you have money like a $20 bill that speaks to you? What does money is speech mean to you? Tell yourself, tell others or tell me at
Here's some of what I experienced on Election Day:
I show up at my polling place with my sample ballot and my $20 bill. Maybe I will see an opportunity to influence some one's vote with my $20 bill. Ooops! I'm thinking that's illegal. I could get carted off to who knows where.
I voted. I always vote. Voting to me feels like a sacred right and a sacred duty. I wish Election Day was a holiday. It would make voting easier to do for a lot of people. I left my polling place feeling scared and relieved.
My neighbor, Gary, stopped by my house to visit on his way home from voting. He suggested that this notion of 'money is speech' might be coming from something called Citizens United. I'm thinking shouldn't it be called Citizens Divided? That's just me. Money is speech, Citizens United, buying political influence is all connected.
I wipe the dust off a civics workbook I find in one of my book piles. I read that civics is the study of what it means to be a citizen. The first chapter is called, 'We the People.' Not 'We the Billionaires.' Maybe Ruhel Islam, the owner of Gandhi Mahal, is right when he states the food is true wealth. Maybe Hippocrates was right when he alledgedly said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food."
For me IF 'money is speech' my money was speaking this season at the farmer's markets I patronized. I always showed up with a $20 bill to spend on food/produce/merchandise/services plus $5 to donate for market administration. A shout out to Mo (market manager) and Ocean (market specialist) at Midtown Farmers Market. There were the Neighborhood Roots markets of Fulton and Kingsfield. A shout out to Erica, the market manager at those markets. I love the music, the sense of community, the produce and mechandise options at farmer markets.
A shout out to the vendors that I patronised among which were Kabomelette, Krisna's Delights, Havilceks Orchard, Hmong Eggrolls and Carolyn's Hats at Midtown. At Fultons, there was Havliceks Orchard and Peter's Pumpkins. And at Kingsfield, there was Krisna's Delight and terra forge sharpening. There were a few others that I am not remembering
By the way, dear reader, I want to wish everyone a belated, Happy World Kindness Day (11-13-22). Here is the best definition of kindness I have heard to date: Doing something kind for or saying something kind to someone without expecting any thing in return.
What does kindness mean to you? Tell yourself, tell others or tell me at
So, out of the kindness of my heart, thank you for reading this far and taking the plunge into the river of life of experiences which is Stories and Journeys. Thank you for making your money speak when you advertise in or subscribe to TMC Publications.
In gratitude. None of this matters if we don't have a planet that sustains our exitstence. That's just me.
Donald L. Hammen is a longtime south Minneapolis resident, and serves on the All Elders United for Justice steering committee.


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