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Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Ginsburg’s passing: A tragedy for the wrong reasons

When I received the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away on that clear Friday night, I burst into my house, not knowing what to say, tears already streaming down my face. “Mom! Ruth Bader Ginsburg is gone — mom, she died!” Those were the only words to successfully escape my mouth before my brain was flooded with the realization of all we had lost. 

Ginsburg was a pioneer, advocating not just for women’s rights but for equity among us all. She dedicated her life to this cause, knowing that “real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” She used her influence to support trailblazers striving towards equity. Even as she neared her ninth decade, she became a cultural icon and a beacon of hope for a younger generation who often found themselves lost in a world unafraid to betray them.  

This is a national tragedy, yet it is a tragedy for all the wrong reasons. We should cry for the powerful life that has been taken from us. We should mourn alongside her family, who has lost so much. But the pain and anguish that so many of us feel is driven less by the grief of losing a national hero and instead by the actions of the man with the orange skin who sits behind a desk he has yet to earn. Ginsburg’s legacy may be eroded by the ascension of yet another far-right judge whose actions betray the ideals of this nation. Just days before her passing, Ginsburg made it clear that her “most fervent wish is that [she] will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

“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. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has,” Ginsburg said when Irin Carmon, author of “Notorious RBG,” asked her how she wanted to be remembered. The best thing that may come out of this tragedy is for her wish to be realized — we owe it to her, and ourselves. The best way to ensure that she is remembered and that her legacy is preserved is to use the lessons she has taught us to shape the world for the better.

[pullquote speaker="" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]This is a warning, a call to action. The life of our nation is still within our own hands: we must remember and apply to our own lives the lessons that she taught us during hers.[/pullquote]

This summer, our nation has endured a long-overdue equal rights movement and an unprecedented pandemic, both ongoing. The murder of George Floyd underscored the systemic racial biases that have brought about surges of protests and continue to consume our everyday lives, but now consistent pressure and action must be taken for justice to be served. Something that Justice Ginsburg knew, “you can’t have it all, all at once,” is a sentiment now more poignant than ever. To achieve a world that belongs to everyone on this earth, we must fight with every year of our life, the way Notorious RBG fought with every year of hers.

We must be inspired by the woman who led us, as opposed to frightened by what the future might hold. Now, many people fear what the world has become, but we must work, step by step, to ensure the world will become the place she helped us envision. We have now reached a point where in not taking action, we allow others to make the world a bad place for us. To protect our nation, we should live out the lessons that she attempted to teach us. We have all the tools. The struggle is to wield them enduringly. 


Max Padilla is a photo editor for The Campus and a member of the class of 2022.