Six weeks. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died with only six weeks to go before the election. The timing could not have been worse.
She was a fierce champion of equal rights. She was an independent woman. She was a bad ass and the Notorious RBG. As only the second woman on the Supreme Court, she became a powerful symbol for girls and women, with her lace collar and ambitious life stacked with impressive accomplishments.
She was someone for young women to look up to, an icon who made it to the top of her class at Columbia Law School. She was a co-founder of the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU and in 1993, she began her tenure on the Supreme Court.
RBG was the only Supreme Court justice to reach a 40% approval rating. The highest ratings that the remainder of the judges have received were in the measly high teens (Statista, 9/11/2020).
Needless to say, a collective “Noooooooo!” was yelled into the void by those who looked to her to keep things sane. Democracy, in a lot of ways, was being held together by this 87-year-old woman. The collective wind was sucked out of America’s guts.
(The fact that the very core of democracy was relying on an ill, old woman is a story for another day.)
When news of her death hit, chatter among my friends and like-minded family was the same: WE ARE TOTALLY SCREWED.
And we are, but not in the way that most people think.
When she died, my husband said, “Well, you can say goodbye to abortion rights.” And he wouldn’t be wrong with this assessment. Republicans have been rubbing their greedy little hands together, eagerly awaiting the day that the Supreme Court would be theirs.
Her replacement could finally tip the scale: Roe vs. Wade, which deems a woman the constitutional right to a safe abortion, could finally be overturned.
These concerns are valid, but there are more immediate concerns at hand.
As I said, she died with only six weeks to go before the election. An election that is fraught with propaganda about voter fraud, threats of voter intimidation at polls by Trump supporters and efforts by the Trump-appointed head of the Post Office to make it harder to use mail-in ballots.