Friday night we received the devastating news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or as she had come to be known, “The Notorious RBG”, had died. A young 87, she had overcome sexual discrimination, religious bigotry, and numerous bouts of cancer with persistence, strength, and intelligence. Despite having graduated at the top of her class, she couldn’t get a job after graduating until she finally broke through, rising to become not just a legal giant but an icon. She will be terribly missed.
Of course this means that Trump and McConnell, not even waiting until her body is cold, have announced that they will fill the seat this year. The obvious hypocrisy after refusing to hold a vote on Merrick Garland, President Obama’s appointee in 2016, despite this being 45 days before an election rather than 9 months, apparently means nothing to the Republicans.
We have plenty of reasons to vote this year; the list includes having a leader who will appropriately handle the deadliest pandemic in a century, breaking deadlock in Congress, making sure we have local leaders who will be actual conduits to their communities and so on. We now have one more, and perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to date.
Trump took advantage of McConnell’s gambit in 2016 and chose Gorsuch. Then he took Kennedy’s resignation and gave us Kavanaugh. If the Democrats and reasonable Republicans can delay McConnell’s intentions, do we really want to give Trump the chance to put a third Supreme Court judge on the bench? If he does get another justice appointed do we want to have a lop-sided conservatice Supreme Court AND the White House?
One of the most over-used phrases in politics is that the upcoming election is the most critical in our lifetimes. This is one of those moments when the words match the hype. Our lives are literally in the balance here. Race relations, reproductive rights, children in cages or separated from their parents perhaps forever, LGBTQ rights, self-indulgent trade wars, and a man who has been proven to play politics with a deadly virus that has already claimed over 200,000 American lives.
Biden was not everyone’s first choice, but in this race he is our best choice. It isn’t even close. When it comes to swinging the pendulum it takes steps, more slowly than many of us would like, but steps in the right direction that end with a journey arriving at the intended destination. We are living the nightmare now, in Trump’s America. It is time for us all to get past the remaining hinderances we have put between ourselves and what we know we need to do and act, if nothing else, in our collective self-interest.
As of Saturday we have 45 days. That’s it. What happens in these 45 days will determine the course of the country for decades to come. A few days ago, when Justice Ginsburg knew the end was near, spoke to her granddaughter Clara saying “It is my most fervent wish that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” While we hope stalwart senators in Washington will try to honor her wishes and maintain the precedent Republicans themselves set just four years ago, we must do our part in rebuilding our country, our state, and our communities by doing what is in our power to do in these 46 days.