Poulos: ‘RBG always reminds me of my mom’

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. Millions of online remembrances, a movie, and several clips from Saturday Night Live have all been rightly made to honor the titan on the bench. I can neither better attest to her moral fiber than a family member, nor better explain her impact as a political figure than a politics professor could. Those stories are out there, and should be read. All I can write is as truthful a remembrance as I can.

RBG always reminds me of my mom, who, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pursued a legal career despite obstacles created by a sexist society. Indeed, RBG was something of a secular saint in our household. It was my sister who told me about RBG’s passing on Friday night while I was working to finish an essay. I quickly looked up the news even though I knew it was true — Lizzie wouldn’t joke about something like that — and glanced over the first couple headlines, each one confirming what I already knew. I clicked on NPR to officially break the news to me. 

It said that she had wanted to live. She wanted to stay here just long enough to ensure her replacement would be picked after inauguration day. 

It doesn’t matter what political ideology you have — that’s pretty badass. RBG was literally extending her life because she knew that it would existentially impact the entire country. Her life was that impactful; she was willing to hold on past a natural lifespan to ensure the survival of her values. 

By the end of her life, RBG had served the people of this country for forty years as a judge. Her life was given to her values, and to creating the world she wanted us to inherit. “Great Man Theory” should be a historical concept of the past. No one individual should be considered more integral to the story of humanity than another. Heroes are no longer needed, but martyrs still are. 

The NPR article said that RBG didn’t achieve her goal. She didn’t live to see a change in administration. She didn’t want a conservative judge to replace her. But if that was the goal, then it has definitely been reached. No judge, conservative or liberal, could ever replace her. 


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