After finishing grocery shopping, pet food shopping, and red wine shopping, I picked up Peruvian food and headed home. It was Friday night. It was a quiet night. My children were with their father. I poured myself a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. And I was ready to devour my pollo ala brasa, papa a la huancaina, and salsa criolla. While taking my first few bites I picked up my phone to scroll through Instagram. After a few flicks of my thumb, I saw the headline:
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, dead at age 87 from metastatic cancer.
I slowly finished the bite I currently had in my mouth. I took a deep breath. I headed to Google to make sure the news was true. It was. The Notorious RBG was no longer alive. She was no longer a member of the United States Supreme Court. I went back to my phone to text a friend to express my newly discovered disappointment. He’d heard the news too. Then he mentioned his affection for the banter between her and the late Antonin Scalia. As different as their opinions and politics were, they were still great friends and respected one another.
I’d never seen any of their interviews, but I was intrigued by the comment. I grabbed my Bluetooth speaker, headed back over to Google, found an interview of RBG and Nino, and my dinner entertainment ensued. Listening to them disagree was beautiful. There was laughter and there was admiration seeping from their commentary. It seemed like a symphony. They each got a few good digs in. They each made sure the other wasn’t libeled, insulted, or ignored. After the first hour passed, I wasn’t done. I couldn’t get enough. I cleaned up my dinner dishes and deep cleaned my kitchen, as I listened to them go back and forth on YouTube for over three hours.
As Ruth herself said, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” And she embodied that sentiment.
Thank You Very Much
Most of these feats were not available to you. But you made sure they were available to me.
Thank you, Ruth. Thank you for fighting so hard for me. Thank you for opening the path for me to be successful, strong, and single. It’s no secret what I’ve struggled with over the past two years. I’m a domestic violence survivor. I’m a college-educated female with a steady and well-paying career. I’ve been able to defend myself in court against my abuser. I’ve been able to purchase my own home. And I’ve been able to have open discussions with Senators and Members of the House Representatives. Most of these feats were not available to you. But you made sure they were available to me. Thank you for using your voice so loudly and proudly. Thank you for being you.
When fighting a war, we must not lose sight of the fact that war is a collection of battles. There will be battles you’ll win and battles you’ll lose. But regardless, always continue fighting for what you believe in. And as Ruth said,
Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
The fight doesn’t have to be negative and wrought with pain and struggle. The fight can be elegant. And if you do it right, it’ll embolden others.
Ruth changed the world in so many positive and inclusive ways. She was the voice for many who were once voiceless. She was strong, smart, and admirable. I want to emulate her style. Laws aren’t fixed by complaining and spewing vitriol. They are fixed with constant pressure. They are fixed when you learn how to present your points intelligently and respectfully to those who don’t understand.
Thank you, Ruth. Your life was notorious. Your life was well-lived. May you rest in peace.
We’ll pick up your torch from here.