Thursday, January 19, 2006

State Quarter Designs

The three finalists for Utah's state quarter have been announced. You can view them here.

My preferences for them are: (1) the beehive, (2) the Golden Spike, (3) winter sports.

I gather from KSL's online poll that a lot of people disagree with me and prefer my last choice, the winter sports design. I made that my last choice because while winter sports are certainly an important thing here, Utah is not all about winter sports. While many Utahns participate in these sports, many do not; and the entire southern part of the state, which is a desert climate and doesn't get enough snow for winter sports, is excluded.

Likewise, while the joining of the railroads was definitely a seminal event in the founding of the state, it just doesn't capture enough of Utah's uniqueness. Our state, while influenced by the railroad joining, is not about railroads. The inclusion in this design of the words "Crossroads Of The West" was a plus for me, but it kind of implies that Utah is layover country, which I suppose is better than flyover country. Can you imagine an Iowa quarter that said "Iowa: Miles And Miles Of Nothing But Corn!" Well, I don't want Utah's quarter to basically say, "Utah: Miles And Miles Of Railroad To Pass Through Before Getting Somewhere REALLY Important!"

The beehive, though, is a symbol that does summarize a lot of what makes Utah unique. No matter what people here do, they do it with an intensity and a tireless vigor that makes the honeybee an apropos symbol. Plus, it has the added advantage of already being the state symbol.

The "downside" to the beehive symbol, I guess, is that a few bad apples are complaining that the beehive is just too "Mormon" for their tastes, and they don't want anything remotely "Mormon" to represent their state. I feel really sorry for anyone who's so devoted to an anti-Mormon crusade that they'd want to eliminate all traces of Mormonism from the state's history. But I suspect that these people are in a minority even among the anti-religious, because recently a lawsuit was filed in opposition to juxtaposing the "secular" beehive with a "religious" cross in a memorial for state highway patrolmen killed in the line of duty. So I think we can safely ignore these people's objections, along with those who might think the big Golden Spike is sufficiently phallic to be offensive, or that snowboarding is evil because somebody they know was seriously injured in a snowboarding accident.