Sisters Talking On . . . RBG and a Vote for Change

Point for Discussion:

This weekend, our nation lost a long-serving Supreme Court Justice.  During her career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg could have suffered quite a bit of discrimination due to the single factor completely out of her control, she was born female.  For those of us born female, this has been something we’ve dealt with during our lives and it’s way past time to fix it.  We can all do our part.

Our Points of View:

(Lynn)

2020 sure has been memorable so far.  The COVID-19 pandemic will impact us for many more months (not years if we’re lucky) and there will be some ongoing health issues for many to deal with on top of the economic fallout.  And now we’ve lost a progressive fighter for women’s rights.  Justice Ginsburg devoted much of her career to supporting women’s rights and fighting for equality. 

For all of democratic talk in this country, we remain a nation run by wealthy white men who believe they are anointed by God to direct the lives of the rest of us.  We are all here to serve the needs of these blessed beings. What a load of crap.  Women are not on this earth to raise children and take care of the needs of these anointed few.  I am grateful that I was born in the second half of the twentieth century when things were beginning to change, but oh, not so much.

Laurie and I were raised in a more traditional household.  Our desire for a college education, while ultimately supported, was not understood.  In the end we received degrees and worked for many years.  Many times during my career, women I met outside of work found it amazing that, as a woman, I was able to achieve many of my career goals in a predominantly male business, steel making.  It wasn’t without its challenges, though.  When I was looking for my first job after college, I had a phone interview that ended after my potential boss said that I seemed qualified for the position, but he wasn’t convinced that I wouldn’t get married, then pregnant and quit, leaving him with the need to look for someone else.  I was shocked and offended, not realizing that he actually violated the law by taking that approach. 

I always found this odd.  I was determined from birth to support myself through life.  I didn’t want to be a man’s property or caretaker.  I’d seen enough of that and felt there needed to be another way. But my generation was a generation in transition from the more traditional stay at home wife (I hate the term housewife, and suburban housewife is even worse) to a world where working outside the home was becoming more common.

So I never bought into anything that would imply that women were “less” in any way.  Nor would I have enjoyed being under the control of my man.  That was reason enough to be single for many more years than most women of my generation.  Apparently, waiting until my mid-thirties to marry was shocking and unheard of!  Ridiculous!  At least that’s what those around me thought. I was just waiting for someone that respected my intelligence and desire to do something that I found meaningful.

Justice Ginsburg spent much of her life working to free women from the bonds set by men.  While she certainly had challenges to overcome, supporting her husband as he worked to achieve his career goals, she was able to graduate at the top of her law school class, and ended up a Supreme Court Justice.  We are in need of more role models like Justice Ginsburg so that our daughters and granddaughters can see that there are no obstacles too great to overcome in the quest toward making their dreams come true.

During the current Presidential term, it seems that our nation has taken several steps backwards in the ongoing quest to deliver on the vision of true democracy and the ideals set forth in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  It seems like all of the progress we’ve made as a nation, all 244 years of it, has been pushed back many decades.  While the #metoo movement has helped women to come forward and report on years of mistreatment, many other issues have exploded.  The Black Lives Matter movement is important. There is no reason that anyone should be disrespected when compared to anyone else.  We are all human beings, flaws and all, and we should treat each other as we would want to be treated.  Maybe this won’t ever happen, but my peace loving idealistic side will forever remain hopeful.

We are at a tipping point in the country.  Do we want to move forward with the goal of achieving equality and fair treatment for all? Or do we want to continue to disrespect our fellow Americans as if anyone that doesn’t look like us is somehow less than us?

My vote, as it has been since birth, is for equity and respect for all.  We all have something to offer and should be treated as if our voices and lives matter. BECAUSE THEY DO!

When we go vote in November, or by absentee ballot before then, we need to make sure that our vote represents how we feel about respecting each other in the United States.  Enough of the juvenile ranting, partisanship, and disrespect.  There have been so many, like Justice Ginsburg, who have devoted their life’s work to correcting the injustices in this country.  We should not let those efforts be in vain.  We must look at the whole candidate, warts and all (none of us are perfect after all, nor should we need to be, we’re human) when we make our decision.  The quest for the almighty dollar should not be the driving force as our nation was founded on way more than that.  We all have the right to be treated fairly under the law here, and we need to stand up and do our part to ensure this for our fellow Americans.

Let’s do our part and get out and vote.

(Laurie)

Lynn makes a key point about the impact of how we are raised, but she also recognizes, as I do, that we have the responsibility to make and own change, and not make excuses “just because” we were born at a certain time, raised a certain way, taught certain things, or with certain privileges, or with certain challenges.  We are all born as impressionable young beings – affected by our environment, our role models, and our dreams, when we begin to have them.  We are born infants – whether girls or boys – equally new to the world, equally cute, and equally idealistic about what can be.  As we grow up, influenced as we are with “I will do that, too” or “I will never be like that,” we make our own path.  We are all still equals – but not always recognized as such.

It takes people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is recognized as a leader by women and men, who is motivated to look beyond herself, driven for the greater good, to impact the lives of others (ALL others) as well as her own.  While Lynn is blunt and strong on her views of “wealthy white men,” it’s only because she is so passionate about peace, equality, respect and kindness, and how it is lacking in the current world of divisiveness, disrespect, inequality, injustice and downright rudeness . . . even in a pandemic, which by nature, should disrupt the status quo. 

One of my concerns with losing someone like RBG (I feel like I can call her this!), is that we lose a beacon of hope and equality. Just look at how the pandemic, with kids being homeschooled, is causing moms more than dads to leave the workforce (or their home office desks), given the demands and responsibility of educating their children. 

Another concern is that there seems to be a rush on replacing RBG  – with someone that is not an equalitarian but an extremist.  Why must we go backward rather than forward for women’s rights?  Why is it that caring for the many is rejected so that the elite few can benefit?  Why is lining wealthy pockets more important than protecting the planet.  If I hear another “ancient astronaut theorist” talk about going to Mars, I’m going to scream.  Do we really think we can do better elsewhere?  Will we be different?  We can all do better – we must do better.  Let’s get it right here.  Let’s fix what’s wrong rather than think of fixing another place to make it inhabitable.  Let’s make our planet inhabitable for the future – for the next generation (it may take a generation to fix) and the one after that.  We owe them that much and more.  Whew.  I consider myself an optimist, but these are strange times!

As Lynn describes, we have made a lot of progress in society, but clearly not enough.  Voting is one way to drive change.  Whatever way you may vote, VOTE, and let’s hope for a landslide one way or the other so we can avoid a recount of mail-in ballots!  I don’t think we want a the Supreme Court to determine the outcome of the election.  We are the people, it is our choice, and it is our responsibility.  PLEASE VOTE.  If not for yourself, vote in honor of RBG!

Our Question for You:

Who is the “RBG” in your life that inspires you?

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