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Let Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Memory Be a Rallying Cry to Save Democracy

RBG wouldn't want us to give up.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, injury, healing, ribs, supreme court

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an immeasurable loss. We mourn not just the liberal icon, but the devastating blow to our democracy that is a vacant Supreme Court seat under Donald Trump. It’s the latest wound in our bleeding democracy, that has been kicked and bullied and bruised within our increasingly authoritarian regime. It also comes in the fall of the most devastating year in recent memory: COVID-19, the economic collapse, racial justice riots across the globe.

For many of us, RBG’s passing floods us with the same dread as election night in 2016. It’s an overwhelmingly helpless feeling of evil triumphing over good, of the bad guys winning yet again. It is demoralizing and deeply painful. But still.

But still.

Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” adding “Never, never, never give up.” And we can’t give up. We have to fight, because giving up is exactly what they want us to do. Authoritarianism thrives when people are too beaten down or numb to fight back. We have 44 days until the presidential election, and we have work to do. Here’s where we start:

1. Donate Money to Flip the Senate

While it is very important to boot Trump out of office, it is just as much, if not more so, crucial to turn the Senate blue. Crooked Media and Act Blue’s Get Mitch or Die Trying fund, which raises money to elect democratic senators, has raised a stunning $12 million in the hours since RBG’s passing. And while McConnell’s opponent Amy McGrath is trailing in the polls, we only have to flip a few seats to take the power out of his old turtle hands.

The fund will be split evenly between democratic senate candidates Jon Ossoff (Georgia), Cal Cunningham (North Carolina), Doug Jones (Alabama), Raphael Warnock (Georgia), Sara Gideon (Maine), Jaime Harrison (South Carolina), Gary Peters (Michigan), Alan Gross (Alaska), Steve Bullock (Montana), Theresa Greenfield (Iowa), MJ Hegar (Texas), Barbara Bollier (Kansas), and John Hickenlooper (Colorado).

The Republican party is defending 22 Senate seats, and they only control the Senate by three. Let’s get to work.

2. Get Out the Vote

I know we say this every election, but this time it’s true: this is the MOST important election of our lifetime. We all need to register to vote, make a voting plan, and make sure our friends and family do the same.

And while we’re at it, let’s volunteer to do phone banking, text banking, write postcards, give rides to polling stations, and order some pizzas for folks in line. Let’s leave it all on the field.

3. Call Your Senators. Yes, Even the Republican Ones

Mitch McConnell declined to give Merrick Garland a hearing in 2016, citing the upcoming election 237 days away. We are currently 44 days away from this presidential election, and you can bet that all those republicans who crowed about no Supreme Court appointments during an election year will quickly change their tune on the “Biden rule”.

And many of those republicans are currently up for re-election, like Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, and many more.

Now is the time to flood their phone lines and write letters. Let them know you are holding them to the promises they made in 2016. We only need 4 republicans to flip to refuse to confirm whatever ghoul Trump nominates. Make that 3, since Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has vowed not to vote to confirm a nominee. Let’s turn up the pressure on the rest, and be relentless in holding them to their word.

We can be sad because we’ve lost RBG. But we don’t honor her memory by giving up and giving in to our despair. We honor her by fighting relentlessly for the democracy we deserve.

Let’s get to work.

(featured image: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.