RBG and USA
When the news reached me about the death of Ruth
Bader Ginsburg's death, I was sad. I was not, however, devastated.
This incredible woman was 87 years old; she was dying of pancreatic
cancer; in the last one or two years, she'd taken falls that had
rushed her to hospital emergency rooms. I think most of us can agree
that, in an act of patriotism few of us will ever be asked to commit
ourselves to, she valiantly tried to stay alive--enduring cancer
treatments and God only knows how much pain-- until the next
inauguration in the hope that a different President would install a
more liberal justice to the Supreme Court. She did not make it, but
even in her last days she thought about the country, dictating to
her granddaughter her final words which were not about her family,
not about her trailblazing career, not about what she'd done for
women across the country, but about her desire that her seat on the
Supreme Court go unfilled until the next inauguration. What a giant!
How on earth can I be devastated by the death of such a woman? How
can I say things like "We're finished" and "It's over" and "That
does it" or any of the other myriad reactions I read in the hours
after her death. We belittle her life with that reaction. We say to
her, "Thanks for your efforts on behalf of women and on behalf of
America, RBG. Sorry all is lost despite the example you set."
Make no mistake. I respect people's devastation. I respect people's
immediate reaction of utter despair. But we have to look at the
truth of the matter and to me, this is what the truth is: We had
already lost the Supreme Court. We were utterly dependent upon Chief
Justice John Roberts to vote with the liberals on occasion. But
let's look at that squarely. John Roberts may have voted in a way
that saved Obamacare for now, but he also voted to gut the Civil
Rights Act and he also voted in favor of Citizens United, which
recognized corporations as people and allowed elections to be
bought. So what we had and still have in John Roberts is a man
who--yes--might want to save the reputation of the Supreme Court,
but we also have a man whose votes were, at best, something to hope
for and therefore not something a progressive thinking individual
might reasonably expect.
Donald Trump will nominate his third Supreme Court Justice. And
Mitch McConnell will rush this nomination through the Senate as if
the Senate chamber itself were on fire. One could hope that Mitch
McConnell will look to his reelection. One could hope that every
voting citizen in Kentucky will write him a letter or phone his
office or send him a telegram or text him or picket his house. But
it's my belief that Mitch McConnell does not care about his
reelection. He has achieved the pinnacle of his dreams: He has a
conservative Supreme Court, he has packed the Federal Courts with
conservative judges, he is wildly rich thanks to his wife's money
and the money he has most likely raked in from other sources, his
"place in history"--if he even cares about that--is assured. With
all those things in his basket, what does he care if he loses his
Senate seat? This hasn't been about his Senate seat. This has been
about his plan and his dream that arch conservatism live a long life
in the country.
My thought is this: We can weep and gnash our teeth. We can cut off
our hair and pour ashes upon our stubbly pates. Or we can do
something to elect a President, a Senate, and a House of
Representatives who can start on the work of saving America. For
this is no longer about "saving the soul of the nation." This is
about saving the nation itself. Period.
My questions to you are these: Do you honestly believe Donald Trump
has made America great again? If your answer is no, then what the
hell are you personally going to do about saving the nation? Do you
honestly believe that your life has improved with him as President?
If your answer is no, then what the hell are you going to do about
saving the nation? Do you honestly believe that Donald Trump has
told the truth to the American people: about COVID, about his taxes,
about his health, about his past, about his plans for the future? If
not, then what the hell are you going to do about saving the nation?
Be aware--if you are not already--that the nine seats on the Supreme
Court are not fixed. They can be added to. Do you really think that
a Democratic Presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives will
stand idly by and do nothing about what's happened?
This is a time to salute the life of an extraordinary woman: Ruth
Bader Ginsburg. And this is also the time to do exactly what she
would have done: fight to save the nation.