POSITIVELY NAPERVILLE: RIP RBG

The following column appeared in “Postively Naperville” on October, 1:

As I write this month’s column, the nation is mourning the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Yes, she was a staunch Democrat appointed by President Bill Clinton, and often her views clashed with those of conservatives. But there is no denying that RBG was a trailblazer who did more to advance women’s rights than perhaps anyone else in our nation’s recent history. Whether you agree with her judicial opinions or not, it’s fair to say the country lost an extremely dedicated jurist and a champion of equality.

When I think back on the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a few of her more famous quotes come to mind. The first is this: “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Serving as an elected official is not easy. Elections are messy and too often respectful debate disintegrates into dirty politics. But despite the ugliness in politics, I continue to serve because I’m fighting for something I care about— my community and my state. I’m fighting for fiscal responsibility, the protection of the environment, an end to political corruption, and equity in the workplace. I’m fighting for fair wages for those who provide services for vulnerable populations, and to make Illinois a place where my children would like to stay and raise their own families one day.

My other favorite RBG quote is, “Sometimes people say unkind or thoughtless things, and when they do, it is best to be a little hard of hearing— to tune out and not snap back in anger or impatience.” This quote reminds me of my father, who used to say, “Attitude is everything.” I come back to these wise words frequently, and especially in times of high stress. When you think about it, person’s attitude really does have an enormous effect on how they view life’s strife and struggles. Is your glass half-empty, or half-full? Do you see problems, or opportunities? Failure or chances for improvement? Do you spend so much time worrying about what you don’t have that you fail to see the blessings in your everyday life?

RBG lived an extraordinary life and dealt with her own struggles with grace and determination. We are all fortunate to have witnessed the ferociousness with which she tackled women’s issues and issues of equality. It’s safe to say that “the Notorious RBG” had an undeniable influence on generations of Americans, and especially on women seeking an easier and fairer path in life.