Most of my liberal and moderate friends disagree with my perspective on this issue. This is good, if we didn’t have disagreement, we would all be in lockstep.
I am impressed with conservatives, e.g., George Will, David Brooks, Mitt Romney, Lincoln Project who are choosing principles over the current leader, by recognizing that he has betrayed conservative principles and values. Their willingness to remain true to their principles is what we are currently lacking in the legislative branch (on both sides).
One person, who sadly confused the person with the principle/position, was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Although she had a long and illustrious history of supporting equal rights with measured intellect and tenacity; her unwillingness to recognize this talent in others has led to our current crisis.
By believing that hers was the only voice for women and equal rights, and refusing to retire when she was ill and another person who held her same cherished values could be appointed; she may have ironically cost this court a crucial vote for equal rights.
I experienced this in a minor way when I was President of the Board of Education in the Morris School District. Being the President of the School District can be a bit heady, I was recognized with deference throughout the community. I led the Board which appointed employees, had fiduciary responsibility for a $100M budget, oversaw school capital projects, spoke to the press, etc.
Fortunately, I understood that it was the position that was giving me this power not me.
I learned that from my predecessor who had been unable to give up the position. She believed that the school could not function without her. Thereupon she tried to undermine my role, from meetings with the Superintendent to setting the Board agenda.
I had been elected because the Board wanted change. It had devolved into factions and meetings lasted until 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. as the Board argued and argued. My goal was to eliminate these factions, I began by appointing my detractors to key leadership positions.
The previous Board President attempted to undermine me and the board by leading through the Superintendent. After giving her some time to relinquish her role, I had to exercise my elected power during a meeting and ask the Board to vote down the agenda that she and the Superintendent had inserted and not the one that the Superintendent and I had developed.
The Superintendent and I subsequently had another difficult conversation where I made it clear that the Board had elected me and it was I who had the authority and responsibility to work with him, and guide the Board and the School District. He got it and the former President no longer had the right to usurp my position.
After my term, and the next President was elected (a year before she would serve); I included her in every conversation, every phone call, every meeting with the press; so that she, the Superintendent and the Board were ready to accept her leadership. It worked flawlessly, by the time she took over, the factions were eliminated, and most meetings ended by 8 p.m.
The previous President had confused the position with the person. She thought that she was so critical that no one could replace her. But she could be replaced, just as I was replaced, and everyone after me was replaced.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg had an impressive record of accomplishments in women’s and civil rights. But unfortunately, her unwillingness to recognize anyone else’s talents may define her legacy as a person who thought that she was more important than her principles.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.