Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Are You Sorry Now?
Ann: Jesus, is this really Ruth?
Jesus: Can’t you tell? She has a certain uprightness to her presence does she not? Yes, go ahead, this should be good.
Ann: Ruth? You have something for the blog? I gotta say, I’m still a little ticked off at you.
Ruth: And why would that be, Ann?
Ann: You left us in the lurch, and now we have a radical right wing Supreme Court.
Ruth: And you think that if I had retired sooner that would have been different?
Ann: Well, yeah.
Ruth: So let me set you straight on that score – and also where I did go wrong.
Ann, the right wing Court was coming. Yes, if I had retired and allowed my successor to be chosen while Barack Obama was serving, perhaps we would be in a different position now. However, the right wing court was always coming. The pendulum was going to swing willy nilly. And witness the failure of the Obama administration to get Merrick Garland on the Court. One way or another we were going into a reactionary period.
However, I don’t view the Court as dismally as you do. Yes, individual rights are going to be set back, even significantly. However, this will be the impetus for an even bolder change in the laws covering abortion and voting rights. It may take time and many will suffer in the meantime, but rights once held as a matter of course cannot be jerked away suddenly without repercussions, and that repercussion in this case is an energized backlash which will translate into an motivated electorate.
I still believe that the Court will not allow state legislatures to determine the outcome of an election. As much as they are willing to bless the gerrymandered maps and voter restrictions, I do not believe they will allow a state to throw a federal election to its own legislature.
If they try that, and I believe they will, a mighty battle will ensue and blood may even be shed, but the outcome will strengthen our democracy in at least this fundamental way, i.e., "one person, one vote" will hold and the right wing version of the the old "one white man one vote" which they are trying to reinstate will not stand.
The Court - or most of them - will not cave on this, and the rest, as I said above, will be the province of the energized electorate and their elected representatives.
As to my own part in this slide into autocracy, I have been forced to accept that my ego allowed my judgement to be clouded as to my own abilities and staying power. I really did not believe I was going to die until I was good and ready. I saw my role as pivotal, thought that the next appointee wouldn’t be up to the energetic program that I had pursed during my tenure on the court, and in this I was grievously in error.
For those of you still in the body, let me tell you that your sojourn there is the smallest portion of your many existences, and it therefore behooves you to be coordinating this life with your next phase. And the phases after that.....
We are all called to excavate our shadow selves, the ego gremlins that tell us that we are important, that only we can offer the critical matter that we bring to the table. And while that may be true in one respect, it is also true that the absence of that offer may allow someone else to bring something of infinitely greater value. We simply cannot know, so we must do what we can without elevating ourselves to the indispensable.
That, unfortunately, is what I did, and now others are paying the price.
But the flood of reactionary politics was coming in any case. In the eyes of the patriarchy, too much had been taken from them in power and riches by the trend that was allowing the great unwashed to access the benefits of our democracy. Consequently, they had and have no compunction in turning the clock back as far as possible so that all is right in their world and to hell with everyone else.
I continue to work on my own matters, to learn what I did well and what could have been done better. This is the task that each of us must undertake when we pass. In hindsight with the benefit of this wisdom, I would have retired earlier and turned my attention to less worldly matters. That I did not is mine to atone for.
We are all caught up in the wax and wane of history, and now we must learn to swim against the current.
April 27, 2022
Free Image Credit: Shaferle, Pixabay.