Like many, I greatly respect Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I use present tense because though she is no longer with us, her legacy can’t be erased (though some may try). Anyway my utmost respect for her isn’t going anywhere.
Over the last couple of months, every time there was a news alert that she’d been hospitalized, both my husband and I would cry out into the ether, “Just hang on until November. Just hang on, Ruth!” And she’d battle back.
But Friday’s news alert gave us no opportunity to pray for her health. The news told us only what we feared would happen. That she had passed to her rest, and of course, what that awful news would mean in the light of Donald Trump and his hijacking of the Republican party; who for the most part, appear to blindly follow him no matter where he goes.
There is a lot at stake for progressive people if he is goes through with naming her replacement and the confirmation goes through.
So instead of wallowing in this bad turn of events (among nearly everything about 2020). I decided to learn more about this diminutive woman who wielded so much power–not just for her job, but who she was as a mighty, mighty, human being.
So, like so many I’m sure, I finally watched RBG on Hulu this morning. And goodness–was she a woman my heart loves. Brilliant, hardworking, funny, principled, disciplined, persistent, wise, and loving, yes loving.
What I love about a good documentary on a person is how you often get to see the human side of a legend. RBG was a woman who thought deep and went after things women of her day weren’t encouraged to do.
Her husband Marty, the love of her life, played a big part in her pursuit of law, being drawn to her brilliance and beauty at Cornell University. She married young (as women did in her day) and had a baby. And then she went to law school. For any woman who has balanced advanced studies while raising a family and nurturing a marriage–you know what that entails. But few probably know that Marty–also in law school at the time–went through a bout of cancer then. And it was Ruth who organized his friends taking notes in class for him (that she would type up late in to the night before tackling her own studies), and cared for him and their two-year-old girl while staying on top of her own work. And she excelled at it–all of it. That sort of stuff deeply resonates with me.
When she graduated and went to find a job, most law firms had firm policies about not hiring women. She eventually found her niche, growing both her family and her career. The cases she was drawn to were ones that could actually change the laws of the day–making life more equal for women in many arenas.
And then came the day when she was called to the Supreme Court of the United States–by a progressive president who recognized the type of talent and wisdom what could only serve this country well.
She and Sandra Day O’Conner were the only women on the bench at that time. And the fashion statement of her varied collars was something the two came up with together. The robes allowed room for a man’s tie to show–so they both wore something that let the whole world know they were women as well as justices of the highest court in the land.
While not a social butterfly, she was a friend to many. Even Justice Antonin Scalia–a man who was not the easiest person to befriend. An avid lover of opera, Ruth and Scalia actually starred in a production together. Their joint interviews showed the depth of their respect and care for each other, even if they had profound differences over the law.
Her life is filled with lots of lessons for us to learn from–especially in these times we find ourselves in.
If you don’t know much about RBG, watch the documentary of the same name. There are other films to check out as well. Read up on her. Watch interviews. It’ll likely make you sad that she isn’t here anymore, but hopefully it’ll give you a reason to stand up, speak out, and carry on her legacy in your corners of the world.
And a final thought–especially to all us sheep and snowflakes–vote. There is no sitting this one out no matter how much you dislike the Biden/Harris ticket. The last time some Americans let complacency rule the day, we got what we have now. An utter dumpster fire.
It’s time to douse it out and get rid of it–in her memory and to honor her incredible, incredible legacy.