RBG’s Dying Wish
And why I will politely ignore knee-jerk conservatives who tell me how to grieve
My first post was apolitical, but deferential. I was still numb.
“RBG. An incalculable loss. Thank you for holding on as long as you possibly could. Thank you for devoting your life’s work to serving this country. You will be deeply dearly missed.”
Much to my surprise, an admonishing cut-and-paste response from a European friend (who now has her green card) was to the above post. Not to this, my subsequent post: “NOTORIOUS. To the brilliant woman who never retired, who worked until the day she died trying to save this country from its own self-destruction.”
I assumed her generic obituary-type blurb was another repost. It concluded with this:
**Please refrain from pointing out political differences right now. There’s a time and place for everything. This is neither the time nor the place.**
My friend and I share values — except for her divisive straw man Blue Lives Matter reposts and the conspicuous absence of Black Lives Matter posts after every single unarmed Black person is murdered.
So let’s not cherry-pick who gets to “be political” and when. Especially when you made it “political” by preempting my grieving process with an admonishment. Don’t there’s-a-time-and-a-place me right now.
I’ll be clear. Now is most certainly not the time to tell an American woman how to grieve a colossal loss with imminent life-threatening consequences. But it absolutely is the time to advocate for the trajectory of RBG’s legacy. So let this American woman make a critical distinction.
We’re not debating politics anymore. We are fighting for humanity. To conflate the two is reductive. Humanity is so much more than politics.
“Arguing about politics” can best be understood by topics in which pros and cons can be debated on each side: campaign finance reform, term limits, the electoral college or deficit spending.
What I will not debate, with a fellow Christian woman, is the value of Black human beings — their safety, their peace and their dignity.
I will debate the fate of caged Brown people, many of them children. I will argue to end qualified immunity, to better fund health care and mental health services, and to legislate humane immigration reform that allows for humanitarian visas. How “great” are we if we can’t welcome and protect people weakened by poverty, crisis, danger and natural disasters?
Lamenting the loss of a Supreme Court Justice who fought for equality is not “making her death political.” It’s not “fighting about politics”. It is championing humanity in one of America’s great heroes. Full stop.
We are now arguing about moral differences. Basic human decency. Integrity. Because we lost a Justice who dedicated her brilliantly strategized legal career to protecting equality where it already exists and fighting for it where it fails.
But I will heed RBG herself, who often quoted her mother-in-law’s advice: best to be a little bit deaf sometimes.
RBG lived her values. You cannot accomplish anything, let alone convince anyone, by responding with anger.
So I will not respond to my friend’s post. I won’t even delete it. I will refocus and devote my energy to what productive and constructive endeavors I can.
I will remember the beautiful Hebrew I learned after RBG passed: Tzedek tzedek tirdof — justice, justice shall you pursue.
Thank you, Justice Ginsburg. We will pursue it, even though we have to without you.