It started raining in earnest last night. The insistent, steady sort of rain that we’re used to in Seattle – not dramatic at all but definitely enough that a person (or dog….) would be soaked through in less than five minutes. In short, it’s perfect for today. The rain made the air quality shift back into the “good” range and the gray drizzly-ness of it matches the mood as the reality of Justice Ginsberg’s passing augers in.
When I got downstairs this morning and looked out the front window at all that gray drizzle, the opening lines of a Joe Cocker song took up residence in my brain:
“There ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
There ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone….”
She was a ray of sunshine. No, she was countless rays of sunshine. She touched and influenced and will touch and influence millions, if not billions, of us across the globe and across time. You and yours may not feel this way, but we are all in her debt. The world is a fairer, more humane place because of how she used her intellect and her energy to spread her seemingly boundless love. Some people do this through their art or their science or their stories – she did it through rigorous analysis of how the essence of the Constitution’s premise of universal equality did, and most critically, did not, match up with reality and then set about using brilliant, strategic legal arguments to keep us inching, and sometimes bounding, closer and closer to full enfranchisement for everyone.
Without her, I doubt your precious Ivanka could be as successful in her various (nefarious) business ventures. Without her, I doubt your semi-precious Melania could be cashing in on your presidency as successfully as she has. Without her, no one outside their families would know of Sarah Palin, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Michelle Bachmann, and Carly Fiorina.
Obviously I’m not stoked about the idea that Justice Ginsberg’s revolutionary work on behalf of women lifted the tide for the above-mentioned women’s boats, but that’s how this stuff goes. When conditions are fairer for “the least of these,” those who have less than admirable motives also benefit.
I spent much of the morning crying, trying not to cry, on the brink of tears, and/or numb. And I’m certain I wasn’t alone. Ginsberg’s death leaves a gaping hole in the Court and ignites fears that you and yours will be further emboldened in your efforts to drag us by the hair back into the cages your kind used to pass off as pedestals (RBG made the pedestal/cage-propaganda/reality distinction clear). I did find some solace, however, in the WP Op Ed by Jill Filipovic wherein she urges Democrats to play hardball right back and pack the court if you and Mitch install another SCOTUS justice. Historically, there have been as few as five and as many as ten SCOTUS justices so it stands to reason that two more could be added to counteract the two you all stole (or will have stolen).
And before I close, I want to come to RBG’s defense around her decision not to retire when President Obama was still in office. Given what Mitch did when Scalia died, unless she had opted to retire early in Obama’s second term (and why would she if he still had two or three more years in office?), had she decided to hang it up in the last year of his time in office, I’d bet very good money that Mitch would have stonewalled/stalled and you would have had two seats to fill instead of just the one. I hope people figure this out soon and stop harping on that issue. She served honorably as long as she possibly could and we are all in her debt.
May we all be safe even though we no longer have RBG to look after us.
May we be willing to do what it takes to defend the gains for equality she made.
May we be strong and courageous in the face of slobbery right-wing gloating.
May we accept that we can’t roll over, that we have to fight.