Ruth Bader Ginsburg “knew the power of example—that if you live your own life according to your principles, others will follow,” writes her former clerk, Ryan Y. Park, Solicitor General of North Carolina.
My Friend and Boss, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“A big deal in the revival of local news: Nonprofit Mountain State Spotlight
Dr. David Bohm:
“Dialogue is really aimed at going into the whole thought process and changing the way the thought process occurs collectively. We haven’t really paid much attention to thought as a process. We have engaged in thoughts, but we have only paid attention to the content, not to the process.
It is proposed that a form of free dialogue may well be one of the most effective ways of investigating the crisis which faces society, and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness today. Moreover, it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated.”
The first lesson I learned is that we have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Only talking to people who agree with us, it’s not going to get us to the solution. We have to be willing to enter other people’s space. Because quite often, the enemy has the power to change the problem that we’re trying to solve.
The world’s smallest and biggest problems, they won’t be solved by beating down our enemies but by finding these win-win pathways together. It does require us to let go of that idea of us versus them and realize there’s only one us, all of us, against an unjust system. And it is difficult, and messy, and uncomfortable.
The arc and the arch.
They sound similar, but they’re not.
An arc, like an arch, is bent. The strength comes from that bend.
But the arc doesn’t have to be supported at both ends, and the arc is more flexible. The arc can take us to parts unknown, yet it has a trajectory.
An arch, on the other hand, is a solid structure. It’s a bridge that others have already walked over.
Our life is filled with both. We’re trained on arches, encouraged to seek them out.
But an arc, which comes from “arrow,” is the rare ability to take flight and to go further than you or others expected.
HOW TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR POLITICAL OPPONENTS
This story is from Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild.
‘For this book, the professor emerita of sociology immersed herself in the American political right wing. Over the course of five years, she regularly stayed in ultraconservative “Bayou Country” in Louisiana. She herself comes from lefter than left Berkeley, California. She couldn’t have left her bubble any further behind.
‘When left-wing sociologist Arlie Hochschild went to live in a right-wing stronghold in the American South, she was entering “enemy” territory.
But, by listening to the people there – instead of arguing against them – she distilled a clear picture: right-wing Trump supporters felt like victims of a society that had left them behind.
In an era where debate has descended into a televised shouting match, it’s easy to feel like you’re at war with people who disagree with you.
But Hochschild learned that by laying down our arms and trying to understand, even empathise with, our political opponents, we can learn how to have constructive political conversations.’
‘Having a heart-to-heart conversation with an ideological opponent can feel uncomfortable – unsafe even. But sociologist Arlie Hochschild proves that it pays off. She immersed herself in a conservative stronghold in the Southern United States for five years and wrote a book about it.’
Not everyone agrees with this approach, Hochschild said during a 2016 interview with Ezra Klein. It can feel as though you’re surrendering, laying down your weapons and walking over to the enemy. But, she says:
Whether it’s about corona, climate or benefits, let’s carry out these diplomatic missions more often. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with each other, but at least you’re making a genuine attempt to understand the other person.’
George Washington in his farewell address, Saturday, September 17, 1796:
“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
I’ve wanted to see this documentary since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, winning the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary. I’m grateful that I was finally able to stream it this evening, at the end of a week shrouded in deep despair after Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s untimely passing and a nomination to the Supreme Court that will mostly likely undue 50 years of RBG’s tireless human rights and gender rights pursuits. Boys State has given me a glimmer, a moment, of hope, showing a microcosm of our general great political process, and those young voices and minds who are poised, and want, to lead this country.
I don’t believe the United States is truly a democracy…not any more. Maybe what we’re trying to steer, and salvage, at this point is a fractured political process, once guided by a constitution that, although not guaranteeing protection, has given us a frame to serve the people…we the people…with accepted norms, practices, and behaviors of those we elected into office. Now, it’s seemingly only about power, and greed, and ‘winning’, at all costs.
Boys State is a documentary about a high-school civics conference where every year, more than 1,000 young men, age 16 or 17, meet at the Texas State Capitol to participate in a mock government. They section off into the Federalist and Nationalist parties to elect various political positions and vie for the highest position—governor.
Hope is not a word that comes easily to me now, yet this film shares, while holding a mirror to our divided country, a glimpse of hope, possibility, and passion for what America could once again aspire to be.
I suggest coupling the film with a podcast that gives explanation and history to where we’ve landed, detailing the risks…the perfect storm…we are facing in this national election.
From host Ezra Klein at VOX:
‘The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just weeks before a presidential election, leaves us in dangerous waters. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which the election outcome is contested by one side and is ultimately determined by a Supreme Court with the deciding vote cast by Trump’s recent appointee. Indeed, both Sen. Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump have named this scenario as driving their urgency to replace Ginsburg. At that point, a legitimacy crisis looms.
Suzanne Mettler is the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University. Her work has focused on trust between citizens and their governments, but recently, she’s co-written, with Robert Lieberman, a book that is tailor-made for this moment:
Its thesis is a dark one: America’s most dangerous political crises have been driven by four kinds of threat:
- political polarization
- democratic exclusion
- economic inequality
- executive power.
But this is the first time all four threats are present simultaneously.
“It may be tempting to think that we have weathered severe threats before and that the Constitution protected us,” they write. “But that would be a misreading of history, which instead reveals that democracy is indeed fragile, and that surviving threats to it is by no means guaranteed.”
We discuss where Ginsburg’s passing leaves us, what 2020 election scenarios we should be most worried about, what the tumultuous election of 1800 can teach us about today, how this moment could foster exactly the democratic reckoning this country needs, whether court packing and filibuster elimination will save American democracy or destroy it, when people know they’re benefiting from government programs and when they don’t, and more.’
[To listen, follow the link.]
‘We each can honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg by asking ourselves,
“What would Ruth do?”
Using this as a guide in our own lives will keep her with us. We can also honor what she said so recently: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
The more we learn about her words and deeds, the more she will remain a force in our lives and the world around us. She left us a clear and precious legacy. It’s up to us to keep her spirit alive.’
-Gloria Steinem, author and feminine activist
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer. She was an icon. And to me, she was a role model and a friend. May her memory be a blessing.”
-Senator Elizabeth Warren
As DT visited the Supreme Court, crowds waiting to pay their respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg booed him, chanting “vote him out” and “honor her wish.” [NPR]
We will, Ruth. We will.
“Trump on trial.
With Justice Ginsburg presiding.”
Follow the link to learn how to vote in your state.
Healthy Voting helps you find healthy, secure, and safe ways to cast your ballot this year. Healthy voting practices protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the spread of COVID-19.
Your voting options depend on your state as well as deadlines for mail voting, early voting, and voting in-person on Election Day.
This site’s guidance is based on advice from leading public health experts as well as the latest updates to state election law. Healthy Voting focuses on statewide primary and general elections. [You can track your ballot online, too.]
Online Voting Wasn’t Ready for 2020. Don’t Count on It Anytime Soon.
- Rather than immediately trying to confront the difficult problem of end-to-end verifiability of online voting, the industry and researchers may instead focus on first developing and deploying end-to-end verifiable in-person and mail-in voting systems. Microsoft’s ElectionGuard is one such readily available open-source resource for end-to-end verifiable in-person elections. Working to deploy such software, and fielding similar solutions for mail-in ballots, offers a tangible path to improving election security.
“What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.” Congressman & Civil Rights Leader – Rep. John Lewis
‘We need to stand together so we can be one.’
Tell them Ruth and Rep. Lewis sent you.
“We are at last beginning to relegate to the history books the idea of the token woman,” Ruth Ginsburg said.
“Feminism [is the] notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents and not be held back by man made barriers,” Ginsburg said in her 2016 book “My Own Words.”
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
1. Employers cannot discriminate against employees based on gender or reproductive choices.
ACLU Women’s Rights Project attorney Susan Deller Ross and Ginsburg pushed to have pregnancy discrimination recognized as a form of sex discrimination, according to the ACLU. The pair is credited for helping pass the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII in 1978 which acknowledges pregnancy discrimination as unlawful. Women are now more protected against getting fired, or not considered for a job because they are pregnant or have plans to get pregnant.
2. State-funded schools must admit women.
In 1996, Ginsburg led the ruling decision in the United States v. Virginia case. Until then, women had been prohibited from attending the Virginia Military Institute. Ginsburg argued that rather than create a separate women’s program, they should be allowed to join the same program as men.
3. Women have the right to financial independence and equal benefits.
Ginsburg’s work paved the way for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which passed in1974 and allowed women to apply for bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages without a male co-signer. She also helped ensure that women could receive the same military housing allowances as men, and women are no longer required to pay more for pension plans than men to receive the same benefits, according to the ACLU.
4. Men are entitled to the same caregiving and Social Security rights as women.
Throughout her career, Ginsburg stressed how gender equality benefits both men and women.
In 1968, Ginsburg represented Charles Moritz, a man who had never been married and claimed a tax deduction for caring for his mother, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) denied his deduction because he was a man and unmarried. The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the IRS had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution and in 1971 Section 214 of the IRS Code was amended to allow individuals to claim caregiving deductions, regardless of sex.
5. Juries must include women.
Up until 1979, jury duty was considered optional for women in the US. Several states argued that women should be exempt from participating due to family and household obligations. Ginsburg fought to require women to serve on juries on the basis that their civic duty should be valued the same as men’s.
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made,” Ginsburg told USA Today in 2009. “It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
“I think part of what I find most inspiring about RBJ’s approach to social change was that it was so action-oriented even on a heady bench, it was exacting and unromantic. She wasn’t flying. She was plodding. She wasn’t grandiose. She was granular. I know we need all kinds of leadership to make this country different, but right now, in this moment of such urgency, I find her style–or lack thereof, really–refreshing. Her legacy is speaking to me like this: Keep your feet on the ground. Keep walking very deliberately and strategically, but for God’s sake, don’t fly to nowhere. Don’t fall in love with your own notions. Do the work. Do the hard things. Do them til you die.”
-Activist and author Courtney Martin
Chief Justice John Roberts on Ginsburg:
“Ruth used to ask: What is the difference between a bookkeeper in Brooklyn and a Supreme Court justice?”
“Her answer: one generation.”
Roe v. Wade.
The right to join a union.
Thank you, Radio Lab, for re-posting your RBG episode. I missed it when it first aired. It’s tenderly perfect after a couple of difficult days. Wonderfully written, produced, and reported; deeply and quietly layered with Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s brilliance, resilience, and goodness. I’ll remember this for a long time. She changed our world.
‘We lost a legend. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18th, 2020. She was 87. In honor of her passing we are re-airing the More Perfect episode dedicated to one of her cases, because it offers a unique portrait of how one person can make change in the world.
This is the story of how Ginsburg, as a young lawyer at the ACLU, convinced an all-male Supreme Court to take discrimination against women seriously – using a case on discrimination against men.
This episode was reported by Julia Longoria.
Special thanks to Stephen Wiesenfeld, Alison Keith, and Bob Darcy.’
[with Jad Abumrad]
It’s the right inside the wrong.
Words from Justice Antonin Scalia, shared by his son, Christopher, on social media about his dad’s colleague and dear friend, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
This is a story that Judge Jeffrey Sutton shares about an encounter late in my dad’s life, when he bought his friend Ruth two dozen roses for her birthday. “Some things in life are more important than votes.”
Somethings are indeed more important than votes, and words, and those things often emerge from places of deep compassion, passion, empathy, and goodness. This void of words, and votes, was the platform that formed RBG’s life of service and tireless fight for equality.
A Jewish teaching says those who die just before the Jewish new year are the ones God has held back until the last moment because they were needed most and were the most righteous. And so it was that Ruth died as the sun was setting last night marking the beginning of Rosh Hashanah.
-Nina Totenberg, friend and NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told her granddaughter in the days before her death.
In the end, still fighting for her country.
-Tony Dokoupil, CBS This Morning co-host
In 2009, I interviewed Ruth Bader Ginsburg about the “upsides” of the Great Depression, which got me mocked on Gawker. (Deserved it.) It was part of a series with people who lived through the Depression and it got burned off the web in the many fires of Newsweek’s demise.But I found the original text in an old email this morning and as we confront another hard time, I thought this passage from Justice Ginsburg was especially worth bearing in mind:
“I can’t say that I knew about the breadlines. But as an adult I found it hard to understand why a country with our resources had such great discrepancies between the rich and poor. Fortunately, there has been significant change in that regard…
“Today we would never allow what happened during the Depression to happen again—we would never just leave people totally without resources…”
“We have the Depression to thank for that. It helped the country accept what our European allies had long understood: that the poor were the responsibility of the whole community…
“Social security, unemployment benefits, FDIC-such programs never would have passed without the Depression. They would have been called Socialist. So, yes, I think the Depression left the country better off.”
How Mister Rogers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Identical Triplets Became Box Office Stars
- “This summer has been especially rewarding for documentaries. ‘Three Identical Strangers’ comes on the heels of a pair of sleeper hits, ‘RBG’ and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.'”
- “It’s a rare summer where one documentary has already crossed the $10 million mark and a second non-fiction film is close behind. It’s even possible ‘Three Identical Strangers’ could complete the trifecta.”
- Why it matters: “In a news cycle that seems to be perpetually depressing, all signs point to escapism in explaining the box office surge. These films focus on a different kind of counterprogramming, one where hope, sincerity, and reassurance are at the forefront.