An open letter to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Honorable Ms. Ginsburg:

First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for your service to the United States.

My daughters and I owe you a debt of gratitude. As do many in today’s “non-traditional” America. A peaceful warrior on behalf of equality, you’ve been steadfast in your demand for equality and your rulings have reflected as such. In 1996, you helped stand up to state sanctioned sexism when you joined the Majority opinion that the Virginia Military Institute’s “male only” violated the equal protection clause. You assisted in demanding accountability when it came to United States. V. O’Hagan. And, recently, there was her dissent with regard to the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber suit, where it seems that the parties agree that discrimination took place, but seems to have beyond the 180 days required by law. This action helped drive legislative relief in the form of the Lily Ledbetter Act.

Your actions have indisputably smoothed the path for women and other minorities. from resistance to appoint you as clerk in the beginning of your career, to your current position on the Supreme Court of the United States, your service is inspiring.

It is with boundless gratitude and respect that I plead with you, November 20, 2012, to retire from our high court.

Since you entered your dissenting opinion on Bush v. Gore, our nation has become increasingly polarized. We seem to have at least two starkly different opinions of what America should be. What protections should be in place. Who, exactly, is worthy of protection, and why. The continuum seems to exist mainly between unbridled individualism and light to moderate socialism. These splits manifest themselves in many ways, including the current fight over the privacy rights established under Roe v. Wade.

You have scored a number of wins for women and minorities everywhere. I plead with you, please retire, preferably early, during the second term of President Obama, so that we may have a similarly progressively minded justice appointed to help protect previous decisions and ensure maintenance of the balance of the court for generations to come.

Thank you, Justice Ginsburg, for your wisdom and your service. You’ve assisted in leaving the country a better place.

 

The world you want to live in.

It’s pretty easy to be pessimistic. There are a long list of things that make me grievously unhappy. In fact, I read an interesting quote today.

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” –Ernest Hemingway

The resultant level of misery can certainly be difficult to overcome. But, if the way the world is makes you unhappy, you must have an idea of what you’d do differently, right? So, what would you do if you were given the opportunity to help make the world you want to live in? Once you ponder that for a moment, consider this.

You DO have the ability to help make the world you want to live in.

Myself? I wish that people were more thoughtful. More kind. More respectful. Admittedly, I’m a space cadet, so the thoughtful thing can be a bit difficult at times for me. But, I learned late last year just how therapeutic for the soul it can be to step up your game on making the world you want to live in. See, I’ve always enjoyed doing little stuff. For instance, shoveling for my neighbor. I used to do that sometimes even for our neighbors in Illinois. I’ve always thought that it was important to treat people with respect. But, I’ve learned that with just a little bit of money, you can change people.

After participating in the “secret Santa” initiative last year, I had a woman tell me that her teenage daughter felt so blessed to have been there when I went in to the local grocery store, that she cried all evening.

Last Mothers’ Day, again, I anonymously bought groceries for a woman at that same grocery store. No particular reason, just wanted to do so. It seems I need to work on my anonymity. About a week and a half later, Betty told me that there was a card at the service desk for me. The card made it clear that I’d touched the woman very deeply. She threw around terms and compliments that I was not comfortable with, but the fact of the matter is, me and my $25 made a DIFFERENCE for her. I improved her spirit. I lifted her up. I can’t express how that made me feel.

Since that date, I haven’t had any shenanigans at the local grocery store…yet. Well, except for purchasing three or four full Thanksgiving Dinners for families that need a little bit of hope right here in town. But, I’ve become a bit addicted to buying breakfast for older people. You know the guys, the ones that are at your local diner, eating by themselves. They never order anything extravagant It’s just part of what they do. And part of what *I* love to do is anonymously pay for their breakfast. But, I think that I’m going to change up my routine a little bit. I think one of these days, I’m going to ask them to join us. I not only want them to discover that someone is thinking about them, but I want them to know that I’m interested in what they have to say. They have a lifetime of stories to share. It’d be a shame not to share them.

And at the end of the day, I assure you. You feel better about the world you live in. And YOU helped to create it.