I was able to visit Ruth Bader Ginsberg in repose at the Supreme Court yesterday. I appreciated the opportunity to pay my respects in person. I am sure that all of you have had the opportunity to hear about her life’s work and achievements on behalf of equal rights for women and for all people. What I find remarkable, was her ability to endure personal challenges and still prevail in her mission. She had a keen understanding of change and time and she was persistent but incremental in her Court decisions. The change she created will be lasting change because she wasn’t seduced by the allure of grand and sweeping decisions, she saw change as a foundational problem and sought to make many small corrections in the law. Our nation is better because of her commitment to public service.
We all have to remember that the government exists to manage a portfolio of risks on our behalf. Protecting our food supply, providing support after a natural disaster, ensuring airplanes are made safely, the list goes on and on. If you look at the mission of each agency, you’ll see the risk they are responsible to manage. When I worked at Microsoft I managed about half of the Federal business, all of the Cabinet Level agencies. I became quite familiar with their missions and how we could apply technology to solve national problems. Unfortunately, the work of the government has become grossly politized, especially in the agencies responsible for our health and wellness as a nation.
As I was paying my respects yesterday, I was reminded that these agencies are full of public servants who have dedicated themselves to the common good. Senior positions in the government rarely compete with the public sector in terms of salary and benefits, but they do offer a chance to make a big impact. There are many rules and laws in place to keep them from becoming involved in politics, and for good reason, they need to be thinking about their mission and how to best protect all of us. I am grateful that our Founding Fathers understood the need to keep the government from becoming a political instrument.
I gave everyone Election day off so that each of you would have the opportunity to vote. I strongly encourage you to not only to vote but to get involved, volunteer where you can. We cannot let enemies of the United States, foreign actors or politicians, limit the right of every citizen to vote. We need to do everything we can to ensure that every vote is counted. Justice Ginsberg would have wanted it that way.
Let’s go be great!