Gryffin

United States

Message to Readers

This is Draft 4 of my Dear Justice Speech dedicated to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I hope you are inspired to make a change in the real world - and don't be afraid! As Justice Ginsburg herself said, "Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time."

PS Check out my recording at the bottom! I apologize in advance for any gaffes. Rest assured, this is not my final submission, but I would like as much feedback as possible. Thanks :)

Dear Justice

October 18, 2020

Even though the study of law evokes horror and boredom in millions of college students every year, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has somehow become a pop culture icon. Was it because of her eternal love for scrunchies, impeccable fashion sense, and killer workout plan? Maybe - but I admired her for the fiery dissents and tireless advocacy that have earned her the nickname The Notorious R.B.G. And that admiration for her selflessness, bravery, and leadership morphed into grief after I learned she died on September 18, 2020.

Was it only a month ago? It feels like eons have passed since her death. I know I'm not the only one devastated by her loss: she represented something different to all of us. For some, she was a feminist, a trailblazing pioneer who, despite being one of nine women in a Harvard class of hundreds, went on to become the first Jewish woman on America's highest court - 72 years after that same court had declared women had and would always be dependent upon men. To others, Ruth was a loyal wife and mother who managed to raise a family all the while balancing a busy career and caring for her husband as he battled cancer.

But to me, she represented a facet of the American Dream that my family, like generations before us, believed in. She too was the daughter of an immigrant who faced rampant discrimination in her childhood. She too had a fearless, independent mother that encouraged her to pursue an education in spite of an oppressive patriarchy. And growing up as a brown girl with virtually no representation in the media, having someone I could identify with - and especially someone so powerful and strong - mean the world to little 7-year-old me.

Justice Ginsburg lent a voice to people from all ends of the spectrum and all colors of the rainbow. But in the aftermath of her death, the democracy she had fought so hard to maintain is crumbling beneath my feet. Of course, it's easy to blame the Court or our legislators for the emerging battles over Ginsburg's vacant seat, but as always, the truth resists simplicity. The problem is just as deeply embedded in the public as it is in our government. For too long, we have let political parties split us further and further apart as we lose sight of what makes America, America: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "a house divided upon itself cannot stand," and truly our country has become so divided that we cannot call ourselves a nation. Now, one word defines your position on immigration, gun reform, climate change, healthcare, the economy - the list goes on, even though we fully know well that one word can't solve any of these problems. And the same thing is happening with Justice Ginsburg. We are so focused on her death that we risk forgetting her legacy altogether: one of love, not hate; of equality, not prejudice; and of opportunity, not belittlement.

The United States of America has stuck together for over 200 years through Presidents good and bad and wars external and internal. But with a pandemic that has already claimed over 200,000 American lives and forced millions out of their jobs, our Government has never failed us more. It astounds me how children can compromise over mundane things like a T.V. remote, but grown adults in Congress can't - not even over serious issues like stimulus bills designed to support a growing unemployed population. Meanwhile our President continues to mismanage the biggest health crisis of the modern era, and state governments trip over each other to patch up cracks and gaping holes in reopening plans. A Pandora's box has been unleashed upon our country, yet our leaders refuse to cooperate and take responsibility  forthis crisis.

Thus it falls into our hands, the civilians, to learn and lead by Justice Ginsburg's example. Together, we will use justice in the service of liberty to fight for our beliefs, our loved ones, and ourselves. Together, we will stand for equality regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and ability. Together, we will fight to preserve our land for future generations of dreamers that simply want a safe haven to call home. And together, we will make our voices heard and elect people who prioritize us over another term in office.

More than an icon (with a following some pop stars might envy), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's fearless actions have transcended boundaries. Her death united America in grief, even if it was for a brief moment. Both Democratic and Republican officials alike paid their respects, praising Ginsburg for her historic achievements. Just imagine how much we can learn from this rare show of solidarity, starting with embracing the differences that make us unique and remembering that we, the people, are the foundation of this democray.

Thus, let us shatter the labels that unfairly define us and break free from hateful ideologies. Let us push for and champion meaningful change that can last centuries. Let us seek solace in each other and confront the uncomfortable truth to find the highs after countless months of lows. Let us keep the flames of liberty and justice for all alive and thriving in Pandora's box.

Let us carry on Justice Ginsburg's legacy, together, as a house united.






 
Video Link to Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGyL-Bj9KlU (The pictures are a bit random, but I had to include them because I couldn't just upload an audio file to youtube)

And of course, none of this could have been possible without the wonderful help of my resources:

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