Hi friends, cheerfully chatting here today about how Civility is (not) Dead. Hope everyone’s well at your house. Things are a little crazy here in NH. Even more than usual.
There’s a stomach virus “out there” that’s literally shutting down schools. It’s Thursday afternoon as I write and all my kids were sent home from school around noon today. And school was actually canceled for tomorrow (Friday) as a pre-emptive strike. Apparently kids were dropping like flies and it’s such a virulent virus, they’re hoping to stop it in its tracks over the school winter break next week.
So unfortunately Hudson woke up sick today (Thursday) with this horrid stomach bug, and all he wants is for me to hold him on my lap. Yeah. (Hudson’s 5, has Down syndrome.) So we’re all on pins and needles here, wondering when and if the boom will fall again. And on whom! So that’s why I’m finishing writing this post today, in case it come crashing down on ME! If you’re a praying person, perhaps you might utter a little prayer that by some miracle the germs will by-pass me and the rest of the family.
Even before the stomach bug visited our home though, things were a little crazy here in NH. As you may know, the presidential primary, the first in the nation, took place nearly two weeks ago now and it was literally a three-ring-circus with hundreds of candidate events and the debates. Even so, I’m thankful for the process. Incredibly grateful to live in a free country with open elections. For brave candidates willing to undergo the intense scrutiny of pursuing public office. I don’t dabble in politics here on the blog (I hear that collective sigh of relief), and today won’t be an exception.
But I will say that my friends and I on both sides of the political aisle were weary of the name calling, slandering and rotten tomato hurling that went on here in many of the campaigns and debates. More than once, following a heated debate, I heard these words muttered in my living room: “more heat than light….”
And that’s why I was so deeply moved by the poignant and gracious tribute last week by Justice Ruth Ginsburg on the passing of colleague Justice Antonin Scalia. To me, her tribute was more light than heat.
I’m sharing the full article below in case you missed it, published on Vox Policy & Politics website, authored by Dara Lind here:
“Read Justice Ginsburg’s moving tribute to her “best buddy” Justice Scalia”
“If you’ve ever believed that people can disagree passionately about politics and still respect and care for each other as friends, the friendship of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a comfort and an inspiration.
He was the Supreme Court’s most outspoken conservative; she is its most outspoken liberal. But their friendship became famous, not just because of its odd-couple unexpectedness but because their mutual respect and affection for each other was obviously genuine.
They and their families spent New Year’s Eve together every year. They rode together on an elephant in India (Scalia joked that Ginsburg betrayed her feminism by sitting behind him), and Scalia watched Ginsburg go parasailing in the south of France (“She’s so light, you would think she would never come down. I would not do that”).
So it’s no surprise that of all the tributes to Justice Scalia, who died Saturday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 79, Justice Ginsburg’s is uniquely moving. It’s a tribute to Scalia as an interlocutor, a fellow opera lover — including a reference to the opera Scalia/Ginsburg: A (Gentle) Parody of Operatic Proportions, which debuted in 2015 — and a “best buddy.”
“Toward the end of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, tenor Scalia and soprano Ginsburg sing a duet: ‘We are different, we are one,’ different in our interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve. From our years together at the D.C. Circuit, we were best buddies. 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. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots—the ‘applesauce’ and ‘argle bargle’—and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion. He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh. The press referred to his ‘energetic fervor,’ ‘astringent intellect,’ ‘peppery prose,’ ‘acumen,’ and ‘affability,’ all apt descriptions. He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader’s grasp.
Justice Scalia once described as the peak of his days on the bench, an evening at the Opera Ball when he joined two Washington National Opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. He called it the famous Three Tenors performance. He was, indeed, a magnificent performer. It was my great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.” (end of Ginsburg quote)
It’s easy to mourn the lack of civility in contemporary American politics; politicians on both sides talk glowingly about the time when Ronald Reagan could invite Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill to the White House for a drink to work out a conflict. It’s just as easy to say that civility is for people who don’t have the courage of their convictions — that if people genuinely disagree about what is best for America, they shouldn’t have to put that aside for the sake of small talk.
What makes Ginsburg’s statement remarkable is that it shows how superficial both sides of the civility argument are.
The respect that Ginsburg’s statement shows for Scalia’s intellect — that she could trust him to point out the flaws in her arguments — also reveals a respect for her own, to know the difference between a genuine agreement of principle and an error that needed to be corrected. But more importantly, the statement shows that it’s okay for people in politics to spend time cultivating other interests — like opera — and that those can be a genuine basis for friendship in their own right.
Arguably, that’s easier for appointed judges than it is for elected officials. It’s still rare. And it’s still worth celebrating.
It’s not just atypical in contemporary American politics for people to be both ideological adversaries and close personal friends. It’s atypical for contemporary American political figures to even be close personal friends with each other. Justices Scalia and Ginsburg showed just how much everyone else was missing. That won’t be as significant to Scalia’s legacy as his jurisprudence, but maybe it should.”
(End of article.)
In an age when people are seemingly pitted against each other in society, often based on religious beliefs or political ideology, I was moved and inspired by Justice Ginsburg’s gracious, poignant tribute to her beloved colleague Justice Scalia. Their loyal, lifelong friendship was a refreshing reminder that Civility is (not) Dead. Yet.
(If you’re new here, I post recipes during the week and muse on the weekends. Thanks for dropping by today.)
You may also like: Kindness
nancy mcmahan says
Thank you. I had missed her tribute. Hope Hudson is better and the rest of you avoided it.
Hey thanks Nancy, unfortunately Hudson ended up having influenza A and has been in the hospital since Saturday with dehydration and low blood sugar. Hoping he will get out soon, it has been quite a journey.
Great read! Please stay healthy ?
Thnx. friend, we tried. xo
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says
I am so sorry Hudson caught the horrible bug. There’s nothing worse than sick kids. I have worked in schools for more than 20 years and we’ve never shut down for a sickness….so this must be something horrible 🙁 Hope everyone gets through it quickly and you manage to stay healthy!
Thanks so much Kathy, it was our hope too, but it turned out to be influenza A and Hudson was hospitalized for four days. Then it traveled through the family while he was there. Still down & out here, but we will resurface!!!! Interestingly, this was not the bug that was in our older kids’ school that shut it down. I think it was noro-virus there. Do stay healthy where you are!!!
Thank you Allie for that insight! Great read! I too hope the bug stopped with Hudson and that he is over it by now!
Thanks Tracy, I guess you know the rest of the story by now… hopefully we will be on the upswing soon!
Hope the rest of you stay well and that John and Sheryl’s family do too. Can’t believe that I went there for 4 days last weekend and didn’t talk to you. What a dummy! Anyway we brought all the cousins from my side so it was a full crazy house! Even if I had remembered it probably wouldn’t have happened. Stay well! ?
Hi Leslie, so sorry we missed you, it must’ve been quite a fun and very busy weekend together with all the cousins! Things did not happen as we would have liked here, Hudson was hospitalized for four days with influenza A, then Jon and I caught it. Still going through the family, unfortunately. Can I just say I am so looking forward to spring?
Oh DEAR! That’s awful. I’m sorry Allie! Hopefully spring will be here soon, but then again we have a winter storm coming here today. Hope it stays away from you.
Denise Q. says
Allie, I hope Hudson is feeling better and that no one else gets sick. Great article about Justices Scalia and Ginsburg. You don’t happen to know if any of the presidential candidates read your blog? They should!
Thank you friend. If they do read it, they have not called me to let me know about it. I just sit here by the phone, twiddling my thumbs, and wait. But it does not ring ring ring. xo
Susie Mandel says
A wonderful and timely article. Praying the rest of you stay well and Hudson improves quickly!
Thank you friend. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out so well for Hudson, he spent four days in the hospital with influenza A, meanwhile Jon and I got it, it was very unpleasant, and now Jacob has it. All I can say is I am so incredibly thankful for kind and gracious (brave) family & friends who donned masks and risked going in to sit with Hudson when we could not. We are very very blessed. Stay well!!!
Aunt Pinkie says
A good read-hadn’t seen Justice Ginsberg’s article- well worth perusing.
Good Hudson did not share his germs and that you all have escaped the tummy bug!
Well, we had hoped so, but it didn’t quite turn out that way as you now know. XO
Julia Sugg says
I’m new, and I like the musing, The bug is here to in California, awful! Hope everyone recovers, and a
prayer sent your way. Keep on musing, Please.
Hi Julia, welcome to THLG! I’m sorry to hear the bug is also in CA. It is probably all over the country. Thanks for the prayer, we sure needed it, and I don’t like to think where we would have been all weekend without the prayers. Our little H ended up in the hospital on Saturday up until last night. Meanwhile, more of us got “it”. It, is influenza A. No fun, and we hope to be resurfacing soon. So glad you dropped by, and many thanks for your comment.
Debra Steele says
That was a great and oh, so refreshing article. Thanks….I needed that!! (the whole nation could use it}
Hey Debra, glad you liked the article and thanks so much for dropping by!
I hope Hudson is feeling better and the rest of school vacation is uneventful!!!!!
Thanks so much Jen, school vacation is not going quite as planned. Thankfully, we have a lot of new-to-us movies. 😉
Linda Jenkins says
So well stated, Allie. As I have listened to the political debates, I’ve often wondered why the focus was so often uttering demeaning comments about candidates instead of discussing issues that are critical to the electorate. I am stunned by the insanity of it all. An effective leader is one who makes difficult decisions, not necessarily popular ones, but ones that are in the best interests of our countrymen. An effective leader knows the importance of diplomacy, and a good leader knows he isn’t always right, nor does he need to be. An effective leader puts his ego aside, and an effective leader is not trapped by Party lines. While I agree that civility is not dead, I do feel our world would be so much better if more people practiced civility.
Yes, a true leader is a servant. Thank you Linda.
Dear Allie, what a bug that must be to shut the school down! Thinking of you and your family’s health and hoping you are all feeling well for the break. xo
Thank you Carina, the vacation week is not going quite as we envisioned. Not at all. Hudson has been in the hospital and several others of us caught his virus too. It’s been quite a week. Really, really looking forward to spring now. xo
Oh no – I am so sorry to hear that Hudson has been in the hospital. I hope he feels better soon. How unfortunate that the virus spread to other members of the family, too. You guys will be in my thoughts. Yes, let’s hope spring brings a break from these awful viruses. Take care of yourselves. Xo