Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped transform America. Through many Supreme Court cases, she created a more equal world. She fought against gender-based discrimination and became a feminist icon. Renowned as “Notorious RBG,” she will long be remembered for her spicy dissents and distinct intellect.
She will also be remembered for her long-lasting and quite endearing friendship with her “best buddy” Justice Antonin Scalia. They were on completely opposite sides of the political spectrum. Scalia being intensely conservative, Ginsburg being intensely liberal. Despite their differences in beliefs, they bonded over opera and New Year’s Eve parties.
Their friendship was so moving it even inspired an opera.
If two co-workers whose jobs were to debate and advocate their interpretations of law could uphold not only a civil, but meaningful friendship, I think we can keep our friendships with our oppositely aligned relatives and friends.
I thought some RBG quotes might be a helpful guide to maintaining friendships during this charged election season.
Ginsburg spoke at Scalia’s memorial service and reflected on a time he showed her a dissent he wrote in response to her majority opinion. She used her weekend to fix the court’s opinion upon reading Scalia’s criticisms and said it ended up much better because of it. Their disagreements often fueled them to perform better. When we have open conversations with the people around us, we can grow stronger in our beliefs while gaining a better understanding of theirs. Friendships are threatened when we put people’s ideas over who they are as individuals. Remember what you agree on with your friends and family. Don’t rush to being offensive or defensive. Disagree with the grace and class of RBG.
While in this quote Ginsburg was talking about dealing with spouses and co-workers, I’m going to apply it to Facebook comments. I have seen relationships destroyed due to people’s reactive messages on social media. There is no reason to bully a loved one because they share a post about an opinion you disagree with, and it shows on your feed. If your first reaction is to destroy their opinion or question their character, take a step back. If someone repeatedly attacks your opinions, tune out. Mute or unfollow those people. I’m not saying we should shy away from genuine conversation but let’s face it, anyone who has followed a thread over 25 comments knows that does not constitute genuine conversation. Take a break from the exhausting climate of social media interaction. Tune out so you can tune in, in person.
This one is self-explanatory. Listen and learn why people believe what they do. Everyone leads a different life and has experienced a mirage of things that lead them to view the world as they do. We have much to gain from truly listening to others.
In this election season, let’s continue to be respectful and loving. The holiday season is coming up, and it’d be a shame to have all your bridges burned come Christmas time. Presidents can last at most eight years; friends and family can last a lifetime and beyond.
Let’s continue Ginsburg’s and Scalia’s legacy of friendship and if you have some free time, read the opera based on them. It’s better than reading that Twitter feud.