Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Now We Have A Fighting Chance
The recent manifesto of white supremist rights by representatives in the United States Congress is both a cause for alarm
and a reason for hope.
Ann: Justice Ginsburg?
Justice Ginsburg: Yes, it is I. Good morning, Ann. I have asked for space here because I can see that many of you are alarmed by the shift in political viewpoints which have been hardening into polarized positions with no apparent common language between the two.
This is, of course, a disturbing situation, and you are right to be alarmed, for alarm is often the clarion call to action. However, I want to point out that we have been here before, and for very much the same reasons. When an interest group accustomed to political and economic control perceives its power to be diminishing or even disappearing, the response is to circle the wagons and bring every weapon to bear. That is what you are seeing now.
Perhaps you have noticed a certain rhythm to such hardening of the political arteries. When there is a perceived or actual shift in the power bases of a society, what follows is a knee jerk repressive reaction. Then, eventually, some changes are assimilated into the society, and matters go back to a reasonably civil system of government. Then the next wave of democratic expansion hits, and cycle repeats.
This time, however, reactions are more extreme because the ruling classes have understood that the next shift may be the coup de grace on their control of this country. In short, they are fighting for their lives and so they have come out in the open to reveal their fundamentally elitist and racist convictions, and they are willing to fight dirty, i.e., to subvert the fundamental protections enshrined in our Constitution in order to maintain themselves in power.
The recent manifesto of white supremist rights by representatives in the United States Congress is both a cause for alarm and a reason for hope. When you are forced to stand up and say that you advocate a top down society where historically disenfranchised classes must be kept in check in their historically subservient functions, you then expose yourself to rational argument.
In the past such systematic oppression was done under the cover of night in the guise of the retention of power in those with experience and wisdom. No obvious malevolent intent was espoused, just a kind hearted intention to preserve our democracy and its sacred traditions in the hands of those who knew best. Never mind that those traditions were structured to keep the disenfranchised this their assigned places.
Now we see a convergence of these groups standing up, making common cause, and speaking their truth, not at a second remove, but directly through internet video and television coverage. While I personally railed at some of the complexities of internet communication, it cannot be denied that this major shift in how our society communicates has contributed to the outing both of the white male supremist movement and the voices of those it is intended to repress.
And so we have a seismic shift forcing all facets of our society to stand up and be counted as to what they advocate and whom they represent. While in the short run this may cause strife and even loss of life, in the longer term we will find ourselves given an opportunity for real choice.
Do not despair if it seems that the more regressive elements of these polarizations are in the ascendency. Such may be required for vision to return to the majority of our citizens and government officials.
However, with diligence on the part of truth seekers, adherence to facts and their consequences will return as our guiding principles.
From that platform, we can apply the profoundly moral principles of our democracy in a manner that furthers the cause of truth, justice, and the American way.
April 19, 2021