“RBG is dead.”
Somehow, I expected it. 2020 has been such a terrible year and so many things have gone wrong, and the very fate of the nation is hanging in the balance with this election. A few weeks ago, I saw part of a headline when a news alert flashed up on my phone. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg is di” and I almost had a panic attack before I got my phone unlocked to find it was something else entirely. The fear that she wouldn’t make it until the Inauguration (and the certainty that she would make it another four years) had been looming in the back of my mind for months. Therefore, it wasn’t exactly a surprise when my spouse came outside to tell me the news on Friday night.
Yet it was. Such a thing always is.
A primal scream started somewhere deep within me. I bit my tongue to contain it so I didn’t scare the kid. It took me a minute to regain control of myself. “Are you sure?”
“I got an email from work.”
I found my phone. A moment before it had been in my hand; I had dropped in and had to search in the grass. My fingers shook as I unlocked it and went to the first news site that came to mind. CNN, I think. Maybe NPR. “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Dead At 87.” The tears came; I bit back my sobs.
My daughter jumped off her swing and came running to my side. “Mommy, what’s wrong?”
“Someone important died,” Kelly told her.
“I’m okay. I just need a moment.” I looked at Kelly. “Can you watch her for a moment?”
I went to my office and let the tears flow. I have still not cried for my mother, that wretched, terrible woman almost twenty years in the ground, but I cried for RBG. For all that she did and meant. For all that we might not lose. I owe everything that I am and that I have and that I have done to those pioneering women who took on the system in the 1960s and 1970s, but especially to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
It was too much, putting the entire weight of protecting what is left of the Republic on the shoulders of this tiny, frail giant of a woman. Elderly, ill, and with her strength fading day by day, she continued to hold the line against the darkness that now threatens to sweep in like the tide. Now she is gone. Wake up, you liberals who claim to care about things such as women’s rights, healthcare, and the like. You can no longer sit on the sidelines while others do the hard and dirty work of defending you. You have set out too long and now everything is in danger. She is gone.
I am told that Jewish law says a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah is one who is very righteous and is given the title of tzadik. There is a new tzadik this year.