Oh, how she fought. She fought to be taken seriously in law school, despite top grades. She fought to get a job in that bastion of male dominance—the US legal system. Kept out of law firms she ended up teaching law and fighting for justice for women. As the second woman on the US Supreme Court, she continued her fight for justice for the oppressed for 27 years. And finally, she fought for her life to maintain the precarious balance on the US Supreme Court.
A valiant crusader to the end, RBG leaves behind a powerful legacy. Her strategy of single-mindedly pursuing success resulted in landmark wins for women. A tragedy in this year of the Centennial of Suffrage, RBG’s death reminds us that our fight is never over. An architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, RBG became an icon for women in her 80s, starring in lead roles in a hit documentary, a biopic, and an operetta.
“I do think that I was born under a very bright star,” she said in an NPR interview. “Because if you think about my life, I get out of law school. I have top grades. No law firm in the city of New York will hire me. I end up teaching; it gave me time to devote to the movement for evening out the rights of women and men.”
Today as we brace ourselves for an ugly fight over her replacement by a ruthless and immoral majority leader of the Senate, we are reminded of the irreplaceability of “Notorious RBG.” We are also painfully reminded of the importance of the upcoming election. There is too much at stake. There is the threat to Roe v Wade; the threat to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Then there is the fate of Social Security, the rights of immigrants, education policy, foreign policy, and finally the threat to democracy itself.
We only have one recommendation, one suggestion, one admonition. VOTE. Just vote. Get everyone you know to vote. That is what will save the legacy of this diminutive yet heroic woman who dwarfed the giants around her. That is what the WNDC’s Eleanor Award recipient, the Notorious RBG would ask of you. Just vote!
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club
September 19, 2020