I was really broken up yesterday about the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It was as if she represented the last line of defense of democracy. The more I thought about though, I realized I missed two of the biggest messages RBG stood for.
#1. Fight Even When It Seems Impossible To Win
As the only progressive, female Supreme Court Justice on a court that was full of white guys, she fought even when everything was stacked against her.
- She was leading lawyer for Human Rights even before joining the Supreme Court, winning 5 out of the 6 cases she brought to the Supreme Court
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dissents became legendary and even lead to future legislation
- One of her powerful dissents lead to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
#2. No One Is Coming To Save Us…So We Must Save Ourselves
There’s a moment in Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban, when he is waiting for someone to save him.
Then he realizes that no one is coming and that he has to save himself.
If American media have taught us anything, it has tricked us into believing that we should be looking for external heroes to save the day. When in reality, saving a society is less individualistic and less glamorous. That hero worship is fantasy and the reality of saving democracy takes each and everyone of us.
Part of RBG’s legacy is that she showed what one person is capable of with determination and resolve to fight for the voiceless. That simply giving her praise misses the point. Her determination to fight, to stay alive even this long is a message to us to do the same. It is the responsibility of all of us to figure out how we want to show up and fight for what we believe in.
When I first her of Justice Ginsberg’s passing, I just wanted to crawl up into a ball and not talk to anyone. That isolation though that we all feel does not help change things for the better. Collectively, we are so much more powerful.
So, it is on us to show up.
Show up how you are able. Just make sure to show up. The fate of democracy and the future of America is in the balance.