- Even if we cannot control the Supreme Court nomination process, we can work to secure our democracy by electing officials that will fight to uphold human rights and equality.
Upon hearing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, I was utterly devastated. During her 27 years serving as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, RBG blazed a trail for women hoping to work in politics and government. She became well known for her dissents and liberal actions, making her a feminist icon. As the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, she fiercely advocated for women’s rights and gender equality. Such was seen in cases like United States v. Virginia in which she championed for equal educational opportunities for female students.
Beyond her progressive work in the courts, RBG’s history of academia and perseverance in the face of adversity, continues to inspire many around the world. A graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Law School, Ginsburg shattered the glass ceiling by ranking 1st while being only one of 9 women among a class of 500 men, all while raising her young daughter and taking care of her husband as he underwent cancer treatment. She went on to become a professor at Columbia Law School and Rutgers Law School, educating and inspiring women in a male dominated field.
As a young woman that is heavily involved in politics, it is thanks to the work of women’s rights advocates like RBG that I have these wonderful opportunities before me, from serving on state level executive boards for political organizations, to working on numerous political campaigns. Beyond the political and legal spectrum, it is due to her dissent that workers are able to fight for equal pay and ensure that they are not discriminated against in the workplace. Throughout her career, she served as a voice for the disenfranchised and discriminated and fought for justice and equality.
In seeing most elderly individuals hold conservative viewpoints and cling to outdated gender norms. GenZers have coined phrases like “Ok Boomer” to dismiss these ideologies, yet most look up to RBG as a cultural icon and inspiration. From “Notorious RBG” shirts to becoming a character on Saturday Night Live sketches, Ginsburg has had a large influence on popular culture, ultimately influencing young people. With her signature dissents and trailblazing history, RBG has always been a voice for liberals, straying from oppressive norms, despite their popularity. This attitude has inspired young women to speak their minds, even as they continue to be silenced today. Despite the age gap between Ginsburg and her ever loyal teenage fans, her ideas and personality shall forever remain relevant for those that seek to bring change and fight against stereotypes.
After her passing, a vacancy now exists in the Supreme Court, with less than two months until election day. It was the dying wish of Ginsburg that her seat not be filled until the election is held and the next president is in place. Though Sen. Mitch McConnell blocked hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016, stating that is was too close to the election, despite having eight months until election day, he issued a statement, hours after Ginsburg’s death, that a vote will be held to replace her with a nominee of President Trump. This hypocritical dialogue illustrates the threat of this administration to our democracy.
Instead of being able to mourn and celebrate the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, people all over “the land of the free” fear for their future. With Trump’s prospective nominees like Tom Cotton threatening to get rid of Roe v. Wade, millions of women may soon lose control over their own bodies, putting their lives at risk. Under RBG, women gained control over their own finances, the ability to purchase property on their own, and work while also being mothers. A new conservative Supreme Court Justice puts all this progress at risk and could turn back the clock for the nation in terms of human rights and equality.
Though ordinary Americans may not be able to control the Supreme Court nomination process, we can work to secure our democracy by electing officials that will fight to uphold human rights and equality. From voting to working on campaigns, there are numerous ways for all Americans to do their part, regardless of age or background.
Many young people are concerned about the fate of American democracy but are afraid that they cannot do anything to protect it due to their inability to vote. For teens in this situation, I urge you to apply to become a poll worker and fight against voter suppression. By heading over to your county website and contacting the person listed, you could work in this paid position and help ensure that voters near you have safe and fair access to voting.
For those concerned about COVID-19, there are a plethora of ways to get involved from the comfort of your own home. You can sign up to phone bank and text bank for campaigns that are important to you and contact voters to educate them on why voting in this election matters. Whatever your background, take action to uphold the legacy of RBG. No individual is too insignificant, and no contribution is too small. Ruth Bader Ginsburg proved that hard work, determination, and bravery can go a long way in positively impacting the lives of many. Now it is up to the next generation to step up, take charge, and make sure that her sacrifices were not in vain.
Ishani Peddi is a senior at Starr’s Mill High School in Peachtree City, Georgia. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to Georgia last year. She has been writing as long as she can remember and published a fictional work in middle school. A passionate poet, who has won numerous literary competitions, Ishani is involved in various clubs and organizations within her school and community. She is the Communications Director for the Georgia High School Democrats, the Vice President of the Starr’s Mill High School Young Democrats, the Secretary of the Young Democrats of Georgia AAPI Caucus, a Civil Air Patrol Cadet, a Fellow at the Democratic Party of Georgia, and an AAPIs for Biden Intern, to name a few.