For the last four years, I have thought almost every day that things could simply not get worse. And alas this morning, I find that sadness over Ruth Bader Ginsburg's (RBG) death has left me afraid that things can worsen. RBG has been relentless in her search for and actions in support of equality for all, but especially for women. Her courage in dissenting when we needed a voice was remarkable. Why am I afraid without RBG on the bench of the Supreme Court? Let me describe what is so demoralizing.
The story begins as early as 2012 when our partisanship divide became obvious. However, the divide exponentially grew in 2016 when Senator Mitch McConnell, using the power of his office and Republicans minions, refused to permit a Supreme Court nominee of Barack Obama a fair and just hearing on the premise that the prerogative to appoint was not Obama's because it was an election year (Justice Scalia died 10 months prior to the 2012 election.).
McConnell's 2012 ruling had no precedent in recent law (1800's) and can only be described as purely a power grab. He is now claiming once again with less than 50 days before the 2020 election that he can fill RBG's vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Since today is the first day after her death, this is my speculation, but it is frightening. If he should succeed, the balance of power in the Supreme Court is removed for decades and thus fairness and reason is left in the hands of a majority of white men who are neither representative of our population nor particularly sensitive to many inequities in America and at least one of whom has questionable character and I believe should have never been seated.
What is most frightening is that we are in totally uncharted waters. We have a president who has repeatedly told untruths (lies) about too many issues to enumerate, but especially the coronavirus which has left 200,000-plus citizens dead. We have witnessed him using the attorney general of the USA to defend himself and his cronies rather than to serve the public. We have seen numerous “roll-backs” of important environmental protections. There was a tax cut that simply did nothing for people most in need and provided billions of dollars to the richest people in America. We have heard him call white supremacists “very fine people” and deny racial inequities.
He has a number of associates who were placed in high level positions who have been convicted of criminal behavior and several of whom have then been pardoned by him. He is described by family and colleagues as a person unfit for the office and unable to make the rational decisions so needed by our democracy. Currently one of his most egregious acts is conducting political rallies that violate the mitigation efforts (masks, social distancing, and avoidance of large crowds) needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Maybe I'm just a “scaredy cat” but his record of the past three years tells me he has no intention of changing. When we had RBG present on the Supreme Court, we could count on a balance of power that could help rein in the unbridled actions in the White House and the Senate. I am now 79 years old and have never feared living in the USA. Now I do. We simply must find a way to restore the security and sanity that we have had for so many years.
As I mourn the death of RBG whose actions certainly made life better for all women, I recommit myself to fight for adequate health care for all; to fight back against attacks on reproductive rights; and to condemn all forms of discrimination.
St. George Island
This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: LETTERS: We must restore security and sanity