From the mouth of the Mint:
The 13 vertical stripes of the shield represent the states joined in one compact union to support the federal government, represented by the horizontal bar above. The horizontal bar features the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM—"out of many, one"—while the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is depicted along the upper rim of the coin. The union shield, which dates back to the 1780s, was used widely during the Civil War. The shield is also featured on frescoes by Constantino Brumidi throughout the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building completed in the mid-19th century.
So. Yeah. When did we decide to revamp the penny again? The penny is kind of a big deal, and I feel like they just snuck this one through. It's like someone deciding that stop signs will no longer be red. Or that the White House would look better if it were a nice warm ochre. Maybe while we're at it we could update the quarter. Give Washington a New Era fitted and some shutter shades. Christ.
And wait, weren't we getting rid of the penny? What ever happened with that? 10% unemployment and we're redesigning coins. Fucking America.