Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was America’s Moral Compass
The announcement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was a devastating blow. When I found out, I was overcome by feelings of panic, despair, and dread for the future. I was at work, and I had to find someplace to be alone for a moment, because I needed to weep.
The rest of the night, I wandered my place of employment in a trance, as if detached from reality. A part of me had been expecting this to happen, but I just refused to believe that it would. I just knew that she could beat the cancer that kept trying to steal her away from us. I knew she would beat it and continue to be the voice America needed for several more years to come. I was wrong.
Cancer is the enemy that keeps finding ways to return. The version that finally took Justice Ginsburg away from us is supposed to be one of the most painful, being cancer of the pancreas. It hurts me to think that she had to endure such torture. It hurts me to think that she pushed herself much further than any normal human would have, because she was trying to outlive the Trump Administration. She battled cancer four times and won, but the fifth time was just one time too many.
In many ways, the battle that Justice Ginsburg fought with cancer reminded me of my grandfather. My grandfather died of prostate cancer. But he gave it a hell of a fight. Just like RBG, he fought back from dreadful prognosis after dreadful prognosis. Several times the family was convinced that he had beaten the disease, only to find out months later that it had returned. It is unclear what really kept him fighting, knowing that the chemotherapy had to be a specific version of hell. But it was apparent to me that he was fighting because he knew that his children were not ready to let him go.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was fighting because she knew America was not ready to let her go.
Justice Ginsburg served as the moral backbone and compass of the United States for twenty-seven years. She was an icon for women’s rights, for gender equality, and for marriage equality. She was frequently a voice of dissent that was desperately needed in key cases, such as the case of the 2000 election that stole the presidency from Al Gore. Because of her resiliency and tenacity, she became an American legend, an embodiment of justice and democracy, and a role model for women everywhere.
Now, mere minutes after her death was announced via news and social media channels, Mitch McConnell has already issued a statement stating that he intends to push through Trump’s nominee for her replacement. This is a clear act of hypocrisy and opportunism considering his refusal to allow consideration for Obama’s court nomination of Merrick Garland.
There doesn’t seem to be any way to prevent this from happening, with the country only 44 days from November 3rd. If Mitch McConnell successfully appoints another conservative judge to the Supreme Court, this will have ramifications to the nation’s legislation and most debated rules of law for decades to come. Many high profile cases and highly contested cases could be brought back before the court for appeal. Roe v Wade could easily face the possibility of being overturned, making abortion illegal again at the federal level.
Our only hope is that enough Republicans defect from the majority and hold true to their previous stance of it being wrong to confirm new judges close to an election. Otherwise the Republican majority can easily confirm a new judge under the wire of the election and effectively change the course of history for decades and maybe for the foreseeable future of America as we know it.
It is unquestionably a tragedy for the United States to have lost such an icon and cherished trailblazer for women’s rights as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but it is even more so given the timing. It remains to be seen how many Republicans may be unwilling to stoop to McConnell’s level of commitment in selling his entire soul to the devil of the Trump Administration, and Trump’s apparent agenda of becoming the first fascist dictator of America.
Justice Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera as her last words: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
Let’s hope there are at least four Republicans who still have a heart. If not, America is doomed. It truly speaks to how close we are to the edge that the news of one person dying can make so many afraid for the future. I’m afraid.
"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you." — RBG
I also have written a poem in tribute to RBG. You can find it here. Thank you.