Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
In the midst of civic turmoil, a pandemic, a thisclose presidential election, partisan division, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our chief protectors of civil rights–Rep. John ‘Good Trouble’ Lewis and Justice Ruth ‘the Notorious RBG’ Bader Ginsburg– are gone.
Who, then, will protect us? Who will provide the fiery rhetoric signifying fury on Congress’ floor? Who will write the fiery dissents, full of wisdom and ire, that RGB was famous for?
Rolling Stone Magazine took stock:
Because she knew exactly what a Trump replacement Justice would mean — a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades; a rollback of women’s rights; the end of nationwide legal abortion; turning back the clock to the pre-civil rights era in anti-discrimination law; open season on election interference and voter suppression.
The list could go on and on, but it boils down to one basic thing — a new Trump appointee would mean the Court will likely destroy everything Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked for.”
How long has it been since the Supreme Court was this conservative?
As The Atlantic noted in a must-read article, back to the 1920”s, before Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 12-year presidential term netted eight liberal justices, including William O. Douglas and Hugo Black, who served into the 1970’s. They passed some of the legislation that at least federally, ended racial segregation in schools (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954), gave women the right to choose (Roe v. Wade, 1973), and recently, legalized gay marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015.)
Civil rights for all Americans. Recognition under the law. What a concept! And it made us the envy of the world.
The Atlantic offered a hint of what the court decisions might be, without liberal justices. Let history be our guide:
From Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court upheld the subordination of racial minorities, to Lochner, which denied the government the ability to regulate much of economic life, the Court epitomized what William F. Buckley would later identify as the conservative credo: the impulse to “stand athwart history, yelling Stop.”
Which is why it’s going to be very important for all those who really care about our civil liberties and our fellow men to get into some “Good Trouble” as Rep. Lewis said.
And how can independents, moderates and liberals honor their legacies and stir up “good trouble?”
Here are some now-radical ideas:
*VOTE BY NOVEMBER 3-like your life depends on it (it does). If you need help to get to a polling place, ask.
*WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS- Including President Trump. Remember, he wants to be liked.
*WRITE YOUR CONSCIENCE- Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Blogs (like this). Letters to the Editor. Guest columns.
* JOIN THE FIGHT IN CIVIL LIBERTIES- The ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center exist to fight for civil rights.
*NEVER GIVE UP- RBG never, ever did. Neither did Rep. Lewis. Neither should you. Stir up Good Trouble!