Yesterday evening the great American jurist Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed from us, leaving her family and her enormous legacy behind. I lived to enjoy and benefit from the equality she gave to women. I love her succinct words: "I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethern is that they take their feet off our necks."
She was an unfailing equal opportunity champion of equality for all humans in all spheres of life. A champion for voting rights, for marriage rights, for the right of women to have control of their own bodies.
The election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States in 2016 ushered in a four-year-long nightmare of corruption and incivility. She had hoped to live long enough to have a new president nominate her successor. Her final wish was exactly that. The battle to achieve her final wish has begun. But as those left behind to fight the good fight to preserve this democratic republish from the forces of authoritarianism, I want to take a moment to offer a eulogy to "the Notorious RGB." One of my FaceBook friends, Lindsey Keirsey, wrote the eulogy that I wish to share:
If she had lived 100 years it would have been too few.
In a world where women are expected to comply, she said "I dissent."
In a world where love has been kept in a box with rules, she said "I dissent."
In a world where borders are drawn tighter and walls are built higher, she said "I dissent."
In a world where fiction is told as truth and facts are twisted into lies, she said "I dissent."
And so, on a night when it feels like the pendulum has swung off its fulcrum, like there is no place to make a U-turn, like the darkness is winning, I will say - loudly so as to convince myself - I dissent.
For decades she stared unafraid into the faces of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and bigotry, daring them to blink. She wrote reams and spoke volumes and did push-ups while her detractors... I don't know, ate cheeseburgers or whatever.
So because she did, I can. Because she did, I will.
Tonight feels like the end of something, but it doesn't have to be. This is a moment that, instead of being the death of hope, can be the birth of a renewed zeal. Giving up feels very easy, even warranted, but it also feels disrespectful to her memory. We can take this moment and turn it into a movement. We can, like the Notorious RBG, dissent.
We can, like her, dissent until the very breath leaves our bodies.
Thank you, Honorable Justice Ginsburg. You fought harder and longer than you should have had to, for us, and we are so grateful. Rest well; you earned it.
Oyez, oyez, oyez.
Tonight, we cry. But tomorrow, we rise.
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Dr. Judith Hand writes historical fiction, contemporary action/adventure, and screenplays. Hand earned her Ph.D. in biology from UCLA. Her studies included animal behavior and primatology. After completing a Smithsonian Post-doctoral Fellowship at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., she returned to UCLA as a research associate and lecturer. Her undergraduate major was in cultural anthropology. She worked as a technician in neurophysiology laboratories at UCLA and the Max Planck Institute, in Munich, Germany. As a student of animal communication, she has written scientific papers on the subject of social conflict resolution.
Astronomy image credit: NASA: Full Hemisphere Views of Earth at Night.