Raina Fisher

Through the Looking Glass

People of all political persuasions paid tribute to the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

The iconic, 5-1, 100-pound stick of dynamite was a force of nature, a lightening rod in the court, as famous for her dissent as for her activism.

She was the fulcrum (point) of which in the same vein drove some to balk. Yet it is thanks in large part to her fight that we women can stand in the ring with men.

By and large, she changed the landscape of America. She broke down the barriers of yesterday and blazed the trail that led the women of today to a seat at the table.

President Donald Trump hadjust taken the stage at his rally as breaking news of her death flashed in. Shock washed across his face, verifying that he didn’t find out until he wrapped up.

“Tiny Dancer” blared in the background as he spoke of this sad day. In the awe of her, he marveled at the inspiring life she led, even to those who may not have agreed with her: “She was an amazing woman.” They lowered the flag to half-staff within the hour.

History was made as RBG arrived to lie in repose at the place she called home for 27 years; members of the public gather in the tens of thousands to say a final goodbye.

The president and the first lady step forward to pay their respect, and a cacophony of boos and taunts swell from the crowd like a tidal wave to swallow up her casket; it does as much to take away from the solace of the moment as the odium swamping in from Capitol Hill does.

The pallbearers steady her flag-draped coffin up the stairs to carry her to lie in state at the Capitol and Statuary Hall, a first for a woman. Even in death, she shatters through one more glass ceiling.

This watershed moment fills my spirit with pride and my eyes with tears. One can’t help but reflect on the timing as we ring in 100 years of women’s suffrage.

It is surreal to watch the pen, as it traverses the annals to mark this historical record. Juxtapose this to the partisan battle brewing across the street.

If we could just have a cease-fire. But the bulwark of our republic is at stake. And while no one can ever replace RBG, the implications of her seat are a game-changer.

Issues of life and liberty wait on the bench. But the election is what will be front and center. With this in mind, we will watch a basement brawl, the likes of which few have seen.

Does a judge shed light on the law as it is written? Or decode it? I guess it depends on which side of the aisle you stand. That said, as the third and co-equal branch of government, the Judicial is supposed to balance the Legislative and Executive branches. That is patent.

Ginsburg may not have been a Trump fan. Be that as it may, the Fourth Estate wants us to think she had his name on her dying lips. One can count on them to skew the news.

Hence, we must take the reports they feed us with a grain of salt. They blitz the airwaves while U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez highlight her alleged final quote in a power-point presentation.

This is tantamount to emotional manipulation. But it is not as much of an atrocity as asking her to step aside to let former President Barack Obama fill her seat.

At the time, the 83-year-old justice said she would not leave her job “as long as I can do it full steam.” And why should she hang up her robe?

On the Senate and Judge Merrick Garland query, she had a swift reply: “That’s their job,” adding: “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year” (Liptak, 2016).

Trump triggered a kerfuffle when he vowed to fill her seat, imprudent though it may be to pillory him in lieu of Mitch McConnell. The nod going to a woman did little the quell the ire.

He nominated Judge Amy Coney Barret. She’ll have to gear up for a litmus test. It’ll be a feat for her to pass.

So, while we may pray for them to treat her fair, just hark back to the invective flayed on Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his witch trial; lest we hold our breath, pass out and turn blue.

RBG panned the Democrats for doing that to him. If they scorch her with the same torch that marred him, it will light a fire under the feet of voters.

The leaders we elect gird for a fight and keep all options on the table as if we are at war. The collective temper-tantrum leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of many Americans.

The Speaker of the House coins a newfangled phrase. Though the “arrows in their quiver” may sound fresh, they rest their laurels on the same old bag of tricks.

She could try to pluck the impeachment card out of her hat to grind the process — yet the paralysis of inaction is par for the course.

The Democrats congregate in a war room to have a mind-melding meeting. What has been on their not-so-hidden agenda?

For a start, if the Republican firebrands won’t tow the line, then they will grant statehood to D.C. All the while, the bill passed in the House months ago it is as if it just popped up above their head like a magic bubble.

One can see a hand shoot up in jubilee, barely able to suppress the elation as an idea so novel as this is shared: “I know, we can pack the court.”

Must we keep going back to FDR? One must marvel at the gall to level an attack on Trump, as if he is the one who has wiped his boots on the red carpet of ritual. Yet, rather than stick to those thorny rules, they will resort to Mafioso threats.

If they move to pack the court, it will lose all credibility. These sage words came from former Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in 2019. You know who concurred with him? Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Does he hold the same view now? It is a valid question in light of the flip-flops as of late. But he refuses to reply, as it changes the subject. One must wonder how, when he is vying for the highest office in the land.

In 2016, Trump had to release a list, since voters were unsure of him. It may be transparent for Biden to publish who he’d nominate, but it does not help him, though he did promise to work on one in June.

And he did drop a clue as to who will fit in the box in his pledge to pick an African American woman. The pitfall is that it will frazzle one side of his fragile party, no matter who gets the nod.

Besides, she wouldn’t get a vote until next year. His compunction is that she might be harassed. His inference may be due part and parcel to the throng who pitch a fit now.

Or has he conjured up the jaunts he took in the past, when he held the gavel like a pitchfork and blew the whistle for his pack to chase the judicial nominees down the rabbit hole? No wonder he frets the wolves.

Capitol Hill is less like grannie’s house and more like a rest home for petulant children. And yet, for them to recast, all they need to do is find a way to clone those who vote like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

To fan the flames of an already litigious blaze will just douse the madness. He notes the loss of civility and fairness in striving to blast the next Supreme Court Justice through.

He’d feel the same way if the shoe were on the other foot, and hoped some of his colleagues would stand with him. But he bears no illusion as to what the Democratic Party might do if they held the poisoned chalice.

Steadfast, he waves the white flag to concede that he is sure “there would be a push to shove somebody through.” His honesty is like a breath of fresh air; a lone confessor is a rarity to hear, a gem in the midst of that camp.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., couldn’t stand toe to toe with his candor when asked what he’d do if “Hail to the Chief” played for Hillary Clinton and it was Schumer who held the helm.

He snapped back with: “Well, we saw what Mitch McConnell did.” His spin is rival to the most skilled and polished of prattlers.

To Manchin, the touchstone of the Senate is being able to cross the aisle. But each time they falter from the core of this mission, the risk that they will fall closer in line with the hot heads in the House grows.

He stressed the need for them to cool off and set a precedent. He meanders back to Harry Reid; as the one who got rid of the nuclear option, which did away with the 60-vote threshold, he bears most of the blame.

To him, every Democrat ought to evaluate how that beauty has worked out for them. So, no he will not vote to pack the court.

He said he believes they need to fight for who they are, to stay the course and to work side by side for the people.

In spite of this, he will not vote for ACB. One who can decide to cast a nay on the fly can’t be that open-minded after all.

The people christened Republicans as the captain of the ship. So, it is up to them; they can hoist the anchor and coast, ram starboard to hit an iceberg or sink.

If there is a vacancy in an election year, and Trump is a lame duck, then the people ought to decide; this is the stance of Mitch McConnell, which is the point of contention.

But that is neither here nor there. For all intents and purposes, Trump is not a lame-duck president.

At the same time, the air waves filled with the breathless outrage of every Democrat. In unison, they all roared for the Senate to do its job and hold a vote.

Either way you slice the pie, the hypocrisy is rich on both sides of the aisle.

The Biden rule seemed to focus in on the summer of a campaign season. He argued that in the throes of a scorching hot political climate, it is not fair to the one who must sit in the dunk tank.

It is toxic to family and to those who will watch them sling the mud, as well. And it serves as a breach to widen the chasm.

Now that we have had a moment of silence, we will never forget the justice who did so much for women. She didn’t just find the key and bust the lock off the cage, but she opened the gate so we could walk free.

The lionized Ginsburg did more than say, “I ask no favors of my sex; all I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” She shoved them aside for us.

While she held to one end of the ideological spectrum and Anton Scalia the other, they were two peas in a pod.

If it was in the cards for them to cross such a vast divide, then we, too, can step on the bridge. At first glance, we might miss what binds us as a people.

But if we take the time to look, we may just find a treasure inside.

Read Deut. 16:18.

 

RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is rainafisher@hotmail.com.

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