Trump and the Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today at the age of 87 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She anchored the liberal/progressive wing of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reports he will force a vote before the election on her replacement. If memory services, when a vacancy developed before the 2016 election but during the end of the Obama administration, McConnell deferred hearings on a replacement for the position till a new president was elected. Somehow toward the end of a duly elected President and his term, McConnell’s view was his authority was no longer valid. So, the rationale of waiting for a new president to be elected before the position was filled.

Now at the end of the Trump term in office, the rules have changed again. Ginsburg’s vacancy will be filled before the November election because, well, it just will be.

My overall party affiliation during my adult years has been the Republican party. It was not by default, I generally preferred the Republican candidates to the Democratic ones. However, the last twenty years or so have made me step back and reconsider my affiliation.

Perhaps it was the growing understanding of Republican suppression of voting for people who were not likely to vote Republican. Perhaps it was the gerrymandering that occurred after every census drawing district lines most favorable to their party.

Perhaps it was the slow but sure embrace of the Moral Majority which infused Republicans with a moral self importance not totally compatible with their daily walk through the halls of Legislatures and Congress.

Perhaps it was the growing deafness toward those Americans who had failed to elect Republican candidates. More and more legislators and congressmen talked about the priority of caring for their “base.” This disenfranchised those who supported other candidates but were supposed to be represented by the person who held the position. At some point every president is to be the president of all, each Congressional senator and Representative the representative of all within the district, each elected governor and state senator and representative representative of all within the state or their district.

Perhaps it was the infusion of too much money from too many lobbies which corrupted public service and made them lackeys to those who threw the most money their way. With Republicans in power they did not stop the toxic influence but fed at the trough of patronage and money to advance the concerns of a few.

Perhaps it was the total moral bankruptcy of the Republican party when they folded in the candidacy of Donald J Trump, and out of fear decided to enable his perverted leadership in order to save their own congressional careers.

Perhaps it was the cowardliness of Republicans who did not have the courage to confront this mentally ill President but instead chose to resign and return to public life leaving a nation bereft of men and women of integrity and courage willing to confront a disabled president from destroying our nation.

It has been a journey for me to get to this place, but I am as certain as I have ever been that Donald J Trump is not just the wrong man for the job of President, but he is without doubt the biggest criminal we have ever had sitting in the oval office.

Republicans know this, and whisper among themselves in those sacred halls of Congress, but they lack integrity, they lack stamina, they lack the basic human compassion for a nation that has withstood so much. They know in their hearts Trump is leading us to an authoritarian government shredding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He wants the United States to be like Russia and North Korea where the “President” is elected for life or is able to manipulate the vote to insure his re-election again and again.

Beyond Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this coming election, more than any other in my lifetime, decides who we are as a people and where we go as that people. We can either buy into the conspiracy theories of this sitting President, approve his acting outside the Constitution, appointing people who will support his sacking of the Constitution, firing those who have been put in place over the years to provide accountability to the institutions of our government, demonizing those who disagree with him, as well as immigrants and people of color, spinning lie upon lies as he basks in the approval of his base, all the time speaking of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice of dying for our country as “suckers and losers,” unable to empathize with the loss of both those service men and women lost in combat and those who have lost everything in hurricanes time after time.

Or, we can vote for the Biden-Harris ticket. I had wished for a younger candidate than Joe Biden. However, I will take Biden at 77 over Trump at 74. I will choose the compassion and empathy of Joe Biden over the cruelty of Donald Trump. I will choose a man whose life of public service has been shaped by the tragedy of the death of his wife and daughter and his determination to take care of his sons after those most tragic of deaths. I will choose a man who understood his role as a father was greater than his role as a member of Congress so that each morning he fed his sons, and was back at home to get them into bed. I will chose a man who stops long enough to talk to a father about how one moves through the loss of a child, and makes for that man a life changing conversation. I will choose a man who has not lost the common touch, and will, I believe bring into his administration men and women of integrity to rebuild what Trump has destroyed. I will choose a man who understands the importance of our governmental institutions like Congress, like the Supreme Court, like the agencies which serve the nation — the Department of Justice under which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been placed, the Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease and Prevention, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a multitude of other agencies. I will choose a man who respects the military and the intelligence services who only serve to keep the United States safe from persons, nations, and states that mean us harm. I will choose a man of faith who freely talks about how his Catholic faith has sustained him during the tragedies he has suffered in both the loss of his wife and daughter, and then the loss of his son from cancer. I will choose a man who knows how to join those who have lost much and encourage and comfort not because he is the “President’ but because he knows the meaning of loss and grief and he is that kind of man.

Wash your hands, wear your mask for others, mind the gap, and be kind.

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