By Eva Schiller (V) When I heard of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, I immediately took to Instagram. My first post was a simple black screen with white letters: “RIP RGB. A legend.” Trust me, I know . . . In my haste, I had instead memorialized “Ruth Gader Binsburg.” Oops. Minutes later, I reposted a Tweet frantically wondering whether President Trump should be allowed to nominate her replacement. 

Looking back, it isn’t hard to find the flaws in my actions. After a single pathetic attempt to recognize the value of her life, I dove immediately into the political implications of her death, and I’m not the only one. Of the hundreds of Instagram stories I tapped through that night, the vast majority were about the vacancy she had left. Painfully few gave proper recognition to the incredible space she had filled during her career. Is this woman – who is a feminist icon, who fought relentlessly for a chance to succeed, who gave her entire adult life in service to future generations of Americans – worth so little? Of course not. 

I’d prefer to believe that in the sheer panic and emotion of the moment, staring down a loss that could impact our political environment for decades, we were thrown off balance. Our fear-driven self-preservation instincts emerged, and we forgot that it was not only a Justice we had lost, but a human. 

While unacceptable, our lackluster response is understandable. Over 200,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S, and  the murders of innocent Black people have been shared across social media; Migrants are dying in camps on our borders, and Uyghurs are dying in camps abroad. Justice Ginsburg was a Jewish woman – there was a record high of 2,107 antisemitic hate crimes in 2019 according to the Anti-Defamation League. Each of these causes is crucial and demands our attention, but our increased awareness comes at a cost: when I say I feel myself becoming a bit desensitized to death, I don’t think I’m alone. It feels more comfortable to forget to mourn and instead turn to face problems that affect the living. In the case of RBG, this meant forgetting to celebrate her accomplishments and instead focus on her death’s repercussions. 

With all of that said, we do not have to continue this way. We can acknowledge the political changes brought about by Justice Ginsburg’s death but still take the time to honor her life properly. With this in mind, I deleted the ‘Gader Binsburg’ post and the frantic tweet and began thinking of ways I could properly process the death of one of my idols. I admit it’s a difficult task: the “Notorious RBG” deserves more than even the most reverent Instagram reposts. Yet, sitting in my room with only a phone, laptop, and page-long to-do list at my disposal, I have little else to offer. 

So, what next? I believe that the best we can do is try to learn from her words and incredible career. I’ll start us off with three examples.

First, on the direction of women’s rights: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” Justice Ginsburg believed that workplace equality stemmed from educational equality and reproductive rights; She argued against excluding pregnant women from the workplace and helped determine that schools funded by taxpayers couldn’t bar women. She has also been a powerful advocate of the Supreme Court Case Roe. v. Wade and equal wages. While her accomplishments for women are incredible, her legacy is in our hands: if we don’t continue pushing for abortion rights and workplace equality, we will quickly lose momentum. 

Second, on dissenting: “The greatest dissents do become court opinions, and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.” In our increasingly divided government, there is significant pressure to fall in line with the party’s ideals and save ‘radical’ ideas for less tumultuous times. As Ginsburg’s message of dissent suggests, I don’t think that ‘settling’ – whether that be for former Vice President Biden or President Trump – means shelving those discussions entirely: we can accept the situation of today, but continue to argue progress for tomorrow. 

And third, on nonpartisanship: in her tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, she says, “We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation… It was my great good fortune to have known him as a working colleague and treasured friend.” Ginsburg’s willingness to see the human behind the opposing political opinion is reminiscent of Pingry’s stance on political discussions: that we have much to gain from listening to the other side. I too believe that as long as our political differences do not involve hatred or discrimination, Ginsburg’s friendship with Scalia is a powerful model to follow. By engaging in discourse, we stand to learn about each other’s perspectives and refine our own; after all, democracy cannot exist in an echo chamber. 

So yes – write tweets, post Instagram stories (and check for typos!), be vocal about your concerns, and rally for change, but do not forget to look back and appreciate all that trailblazers like RBG have already accomplished. There is much to learn.