she was out on the deck, momentarily. stopping by to give me words of wisdom and courage, former u.s. supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg stood in the sunshine. she leaned over, in emphasis, and the sun streamed through her collar, reflecting through the window onto our dresser. i held her words close to me. she reminded me, “but when i talked about sex-based discrimination, i got the response, ‘what are you talking about? women are treated ever so much better than men!’” then we both laughed, her eyes gleaming with the intelligent fight of a strong woman.
ruth continued, her sage words a repetition of something she had said, quoted back in 2020, “it’s an unconscious bias. it’s the expectation. you have a lowered expectation when you hear a woman speaking; i think that still goes on. that instinctively when a man speaks, he will be listened to, where people will not expect the woman to say anything of value. but all of the women in my generation have had, time and again, that experience where you say something at a meeting, and nobody makes anything of it. and maybe half an hour later, a man makes the identical point, and people react to it and say, ‘good idea.’ that, i think, is a problem that persists.”
her parting words, before she vanished from our deck, before her tatted collar no longer formed a sunlit shadow on our dresser, “whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. that means don’t do it just for yourself. you will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived.” i nodded. it’s our responsibility as women (and yes, as men) to make sure that we leave to those behind us a place that is better for those who follow, a place that is transparent and that rebels against agenda, a place that treats all fairly, a place that is dedicated to the resolution of conflict, a place of compassion and truth. her gaze was steady before she disappeared, encouraging me to stay grounded, to “breathe free,” to “speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”
“i would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”
hell yes, RBG!!!
read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY
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