This morning, I left around 8 am to go back to the Cameron office. While I was driving through early-autumn fog, NPR played the ceremony around taking Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to lie in state in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. I’ve been listening to, watching, and reading tributes to her all week, since she passed away, since she’s someone I’ve admired for years.
As I listened to Nina Totenberg and a former law clerk of hers talk about the things RBG accomplished in her life, a huge wave of gratitude came over me. I drove through the silent fog of southern Milam County, thinking the blurred scenery was perfect for such a time of major transition. The fog reminded me of the fact that, while I’ve come far in my life, I can’t see very far ahead to where I’m going. And while Ginsberg achieved so much for the rights of her fellow Americans, the direction in which her beloved country and its legal system is going is also veiled and unsure right now.
I shivered, there in my car, alone with the dog.
Something one of the commentators said really hit home with me. She spoke about meeting up with two sisters who’d driven many miles to pay their respects to their Supreme Court hero. They pointed out that they are in their 60s, and their own mother was born at a time when women weren’t allowed to vote. My mother was born two years later. When my great grandmother was born, people could still own slaves where she lived. We have collectively gained so many rights in a few short years. When I was born, women could not make their own reproductive decisions. Gay people had to hide if they wanted to join the Armed Forces.
Ginsberg did so much to bring equality to the United States, even when it was not popular. And her dissent, well, as she noted, those were written for the future, in the hopes that they would reach the wise people of the future. Even when she didn’t create change, she kept going. She kept trying. She persevered.
Today I renewed my own vows to keep working toward what I think is right, true, and fair. There will be consequences. But I don’t think I could live with myself if I hid in fear of those louder and more well armed than myself.
How has the legacy of RBG influenced you? Dissent welcome.