Hello again, it's Joseph and I'm on the move, in my mind so to speak. I'm processing the fact that someone special, someone that got it right when it comes to being a human, is no longer on the planet: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first woman and Jewish person to ever to lie in state in the Capitol. May she rest in peace.
It's not like I knew her personally but I could of. I imagine her as a wise grandma that just tells it like it is; someone who looks you in the eye and lets you know that you're not going to get away with anything on her watch but that you're still going to have a lot of fun together. Whining will never do. Don't like the way something is? Do something about it. Speak your truth. And of course, accessorize when you do #lacecollars
"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."
In a world dominated by men, she was a trailblazer and the second female justice on the Supreme Court, nominated by my friend, Bill Clinton. One of her more famous quotes includes: "When I'm sometimes asked 'When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?' and my answer is: 'When there are nine.' People are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that."
While known for her fight for gender equality, she truly embraced equality for all. Of her legacy, she remarked, "to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that's what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one's community." At a naturalization ceremony for immigrants she shared that America was stronger because of people like them. Build a wall? Hell, no! Even in defeat, when the court did not rule in her favor, her dissents were legendary. Because she went down swinging, she has laid the groundwork for future legislation for generations yet to come.
There is so much to admire about this woman but perhaps most vivid in my mind is her unique, candid ability to profoundly disagree with someone and yet care about them deeply. Her closest friend on the Supreme Court was the one she disagreed with the most: Judge Antonin Scalia. She even spoke at his funeral:
"Once asked how we could be friends, given our disagreement on lots of things, Justice Scalia answered: "I attack ideas. I don't attack people. Some very good people have some very bad ideas. And if you can't separate the two, you gotta get another day job. You don't want to be a judge, at least not a judge on a multi-member panel." How blessed I was to have a working colleague and dear friend of such captivating brilliance, high spirits, and quick wit. . .we were different, yes, in our interpretation of written texts, yet one in our reverence for the Court and its place in the U.S. system of governance."
Those are the keys dear reader as we look towards the election: (more on that in my next blog)
to attack ideas and not people
to see what is captivating in another human being, even when you disagree
to have a mutual respect and reverence for the greater good of all
Thank you RBG for allowing us to bask in your brilliance. May we be better humans because of your light.