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Steve Orlik: Actions have consequences

Steve Orlik
Other Voices

On Sept. 18 of this year America lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive Supreme Court justice whose shadow casts a large legacy for all of America. She was a champion for basic human rights and equality for women and minorities. Her life’s work has made us a better country.

That evening after her death I felt conflicted after I heard Nina Totenberg of NPR interviewed on MSNBC. Nina explained that RBG was planning on retiring after the 2016 election. Nina explained that Ruth believed that Hillary Clinton, the then Democratic candidate for president would be elected president. Ruth would then retire allowing Clinton to choose her replacement.

Actions and inaction have consequences, it occurred to me that her inaction and choosing not to retire earlier during Barack Obama’s last term had unintentional consequences. Trump won the election and would choose her replacement if RBG retired or passed away while he was in office. The latter has come into play.

It’s not my place to second guess anyone’s decision. Should I continue to admire the wonderful progressive laws and changes that RBG brought to our great nation? Or should I feel justified to criticize her for her actions which as a consequence may allow a conservative replacement to be placed in the Supreme Court by a hypocritical Senate majority?

As I have thought about this the last few days, what has become more clear, is that I can’t condemn the actions of RBG as she was operating under a set of assumptions. At the time of the 2016 elections, Hillary Clinton had what most considered to be a reasonable edge over Donald Trump. Unfortunately at that same time it became clearer that a schism seemed to pervade the Democratic party as the Bernie Sanders supporters had difficulty embracing the Democratic nominee Clinton.

Actions have consequences, and the lack of voter turnout for Hillary Clinton by the disenfranchised Bernie Sanders supporters, as well as a pervasive apathy by many Democrats may very well have cost them the presidential election, as a result subsequently a more liberal majority judiciary in the Supreme Court. We may see the third conservative justice sworn in the last four years just in the matter of weeks.

In reflection what seems clear, whatever is next for America our actions going forward have consequences for longer than just the next four years, our decisions or lack of critical thinking around voting and who to vote for may have consequences for you, me, our children and the world.

Steve Orlik lives in Nevada City.


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