Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020). May her Memory be a Blessing

In her tiny fragile frame lay all of our hopes and dreams.

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Left me shaken, numb, gasping for air.

I thought she was indomitable.
She had beaten cancer four times.
She was an icon, a hero, a legend.
Her brilliance was staggering,
Her compassion endless.

In her tiny fragile frame lay all of our hopes and dreams.

Yet I, with misplaced confidence in all that is good, 
Ridiculously believed her fierce desire to live
And to make our country a land of equality and justice for all
Somehow had the power to conquer death itself
For at least for a few more months.I was sadly, terribly wrong.
The Notorious RBG is gone.She took her last breaths
At the very last moments
Of the Jewish Year 5780,
A truly dreadful year.

That year, thank God, is over.
And her legacy remains with us
As we enter 5781.Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught men at the highest levels of power – and they were all men in the days she began her crusade – that gender, like race, is a construct. That the differences between men and women had been magnified by culture and centuries of unquestioned belief into ridiculous stereotypes. That gender roles confined women and men into prisons of conformity and put hurdles in the way of our individual pursuits of happiness. That women could be the best lawyers and have the finest legal minds. That men could be the kindest parents and caregivers. That the government had no business forcibly assigning us into designated slots. That we are all human. That those who would forcibly delineate male or female roles for us were as damaging to human freedom as the radical authoritarian states that would choose our professions for us.RBG gave us freedom, the power to be ourselves. It is impossible to imagine the world we now live in without her. A world where women are taken seriously. Where we have a female Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. Where I – as an openly gay man – am regularly criticized (as I should be!) for my thoughts, my words, and my deeds but virtually never any longer for my sexual orientation. Where my colleague Delegate Danica Roem serves well and ably and with the gender of her birth an afterthought. Where people with different physical and mental abilities are valued for their humanity; not their differences. Where the fact that I posted Hebrew at the top of this page, in knowing reverence to both Justice Ginsburg’s religious faith and my own, would not be seen as a barrier to our success but an honor to our connected affinity – a recognition that people of various religions, along with atheists and agnostics, have a lot more in common than the beliefs which divide us.I realize we are not quite there yet. We still face gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic inequities. Under the current President, this inequality has been magnified. He openly attacks those who have been traditionally disparaged – women, minorities, immigrants, those with disabilities – with a passion and fervor not seen since Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career in the 1950s, since she was first in her class but unemployable because no one wanted a “lady lawyer.”Our world is shaken.
But we must act with resolve and with confidence.
There is no time to despair.
There is work to be done.

Would the Notorious RBG have tolerated a bunch of us moping at her loss?
Not for a moment:
This Justice who issued a Supreme Court ruling from the bench
The very day after losing the love of her life, Marty Ginsburg,
A man who sincerely believed in gender equality long before it became a commonplace notion.Yes, she was indomitable.
Few of us have the mental or physical fortitude
Of this tiny giant.

I don’t call on us to mirror her brilliance, her strength, her greatness.
With few exceptions (Thurgood Marshall comes to mind), that’s impossible.
We can’t come close to matching that.Nevertheless, some ancient Talmudic wisdom comes to mind.
Our rabbis wrote thousands of years ago:It is not your responsibility
To complete the work
Of perfecting our world.

But you are required.
To do your part.
(That’s worth rereading a few times.)
Let us all resolve
In her name,
In her honor,
In her legacy, and
In her blessed memory

To redouble our efforts
To finish the job she set out to do.

She gave us a fantastic head start.
But now she is gone.

The baton is at our feet.

Pick it up.

Run.

Written by Mark Levine.

Mark H. Levine (born May 7, 1966) is an American politician serving as the Delegate from the 45th District of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2016. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Horses and Leaders

I think we horses are more qualified to be President than Mitt Romney. We have very few convictions and we don’t change them. He has tons of convictions – all interchangeable.

Leadership qualities

The only principle Mitt Romney has is that  he likes any principle which will help him to get elected. 

John C. Maxwell quotes (American Entrepreneur, Author and motivational speaker): “Policies are many, Principles are few, Policies will change, Principles never do.” 

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

Warren Bennis: Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.

A Leader?

Hubert Humphrey, “Leadership in today’s world requires far more than a large stock of gunboats and a hard fist at the conference table.”

I think leadership qualities apply to countries. Even ours.

I think we horses are more qualified to be President than Mitt Romney.  We have very few convictions and we don’t change them. He has tons of convictions – all interchangeable.

HIT Reply

When I see you act like the progressive and courageous President you promised to be, when I see you repeal those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, when I see you go after those Wall Street crooks, when I see you keep your word about off shore oil drilling and you enforce tough environmental standards, then, and only then, will I send in the bucks and personally work to help in your campaign. (If you are in the third category… the list of wants may be a lot longer)

President Obama had an incredibly efficient and productive email fund-raising campaign for his 2008 election. As a contributor and supporter of Barak Obama in that election, I am now on the campaign’s 2012 email lists. I receive almost daily requests for dollars, requests to host or attend campaign events in my neighborhood. I imagine a sizeable proportion of my readership gets similar emails. I suggest that if you get an email solicitation, you do one of the following:

If you believe President Obama is doing a grand job, hit “Reply” and enter “I am delighted to support your campaign. You are the President I hoped for. You are the pragmatist and conciliator that you promised to be. I know you haven’t accomplished all you and I would have liked, but those Republicans are real obstructionists, and I know you are a good person and working hard.

 

 If you believe President Obama is partially doing what you expected, Hit “reply” and say something like, “Mr. Obama,” I am sending in 50% (or whatever) of my normal pledge as I feel you are doing 50% of the job I expected you to do. You have raised our international image, tried to reach across the aisle, kept the auto industry in business, but continue an unending war in Afghanistan, fail to prosecute torturers and continue to maintain Guantanamo, and won’t strongly support same-sex marriage. I’ll contribute the balance when I see some more gumption and leadership on your part.

If you believe the man you supported in 2007 has truly let you down, hit “Reply ” and type something like, “President Obama I wish I could support you in your campaign for President, but until you have the courage to fulfill the promises you made that encouraged me to support your campaign for your first term, I cannot in good conscience send you any funds, host any events, or work for your campaign. When I see you act like the progressive and courageous President you promised to be, when I see you repeal those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, when I see you go after those Wall Street crooks, when I see you keep your word about off shore oil drilling and you enforce tough environmental standards,  then, and only then, will I send in the bucks and personally work to help in your campaign. (If you are in the third category… the list of wants may be a lot longer)

As for me, I will let my readers guess what I type, when I hit, “Reply.”

The President

We are all well aware of the President’s shortcomings. We are disappointed that he has not stood up much more forcefully to the Republicans (although my personal view is that this may prove to be a shrewd political strategy). But we need to remind ourselves of the positives as well as the negatives.

This is a list of achievements of President Obama that a friend emailed to me last December.  (And of course there have been more in the past several months.)  I have decided to share it with Democracy in Action in the interest of having a balanced blog.

We are all well aware of the President’s shortcomings.  We are disappointed that he has not stood up much more forcefully to the Republicans (although my personal view is that this may prove to be a shrewd political strategy).  But we need to remind ourselves of the positives as well as the negatives. Continue reading “The President”

Obamapologists

Pragmatism involves choosing an action with the least risk ; this usually makes sense. An empty building is burning; stand outside; call the fire dept and let it burn. If your child is in the building the choice of action involves a tougher question, and you don’t always chose the pragmatic action of waiting for the fire engines to pull up. Our building is burning, and little Johnny is screaming for help.

leadership
Leadership

I, like so many others,  gave  time, money and heart to get President Obama elected.   Regrettably, I have been greatly disappointed.  It is not due to his lack of legislative accomplishment.  Given the contentious and intransigent opposition faced, I sincerely believe he has been adept at getting some good legislation passed.

But, I have been waiting to see his moment of courage.   From my friends, I  hear that he  is pragmatic; he has always been in the middle;  he is a man of compromise.   In most situations being pragmatic and a man of compromise is wise.  If you have a crowded room and more guests come than there are seats, you compromise; you are pragmatic; you let a few people in, and ask some to stand. But, if the same situation applies to a crowded lifeboat, being pragmatic and compromising is not a viable solution.  Our lifeboat is full.

Pragmatism involves choosing an action with the least risk ;  this usually makes sense.   An empty building is burning; stand outside; call the fire dept and let it burn.   If your child is in the building the choice of action involves a tougher question, and you don’t always chose the pragmatic action of waiting for the fire engines to pull up. Our building is burning, and little Johnny is screaming for help.

Then there is the issue of honesty.    I have been through almost 50 years of elections yet I remain naive enough to believe that the overall theme of a candidate’s doable promises should be kept.   To not keep doable, significant promises simply equates to lying.

In Madison, Wisconsin the labor movement is at risk of being obliterated by the GOP.   Our President says a few words of support at the beginning of the crisis and now, not a word.   His press secretary answers the question of whether the President will get involved with a non-answer.   Political pundits say the President is waiting to see how the public of Wisconsin poll.   Wisconsin will be critical in 2012…. He is just being pragmatic.

For those who have not seen President Obama’s 2007 stump speech in Spartanburg, I ask you to click

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA9KC8SMu3o

You will see our President issue  unequivocal words of support for the labor movement of our country.

I ask my Obamapologist friends: Do our unions not deserve a few word of support from our President?   Perhaps,  he chooses not to “walk the picket line”  but how much courage does it show to ignore the situtation?   Yes, showing support might have negative consequences.  But acting in the face of risk is what courage is.

All I have seen out of this President is pragmatism. I hopefully await courage and honesty.  Hopefully, by the time you read this blog entry, it is no longer relevant because Barak Obama did the courageous thing.