Amy Roberts: With gratitude
I have been a homeowner since I was 22 years old. Days after walking across a stage to accept my diploma, I was touring open houses with a Realtor. While many of my friends were taking a gap year to backpack Europe, or renting apartments together off campus, I was learning about interest rates and picking out a lawnmower.
Owning a home at such a young age wasn’t a goal of mine as much as it was an expectation of my parents. They had a very well-defined path for me and my sisters. It went something like this: 1. Graduate from college. 2. Become gainfully employed. 3. Buy a house. The steps were expected to be completed within a month or so of each other. And after ticking them off, we were officially adults, able to chart our own course.
There are many things I distinctly remember about purchasing my first home. I recall hating the wallpaper and contemplating removing the entire wall before I learned the wallpaper could be peeled off. I remember being delighted when I pulled up the carpet and discovered pristine oak floors underneath. I can still feel that anxious pit I had in my stomach as I sat on the floor in my bare living room and contemplated being in $85,000 of what my dad told me was, “good debt.” I remember meeting my neighbors, learning the definition of “elbow grease,” hauling furniture up two flights of stairs, and swearing I’d never move again because it was so much work.
What I don’t remember is pausing to acknowledge the person who made it possible for a single woman to take out her own mortgage. I had no idea that just 25 years prior, doing so wasn’t a right, much less a widely accepted norm.
Four years ago when my younger sister Heather passed away, my mother assumed control of her estate. My parents are still married, but my mother handled the selling of my sister’s home and car and the thoughtful distribution of her belongings. Heather wasn’t married and didn’t have children, and she didn’t specify which parent should be in charge. We just all accepted it would be my mom because she’s better at that stuff. It never occurred to me that just a few decades prior, my father would have been automatically appointed executer of her estate, regardless of his lack of desire or skill. Thanks to RBG, my mom was able to handle the details in the way my sister would have wanted.
When my older sister was pregnant with my niece six years ago, I never once asked her, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get fired?” She didn’t have to worry about that because it’s illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant. But neither of us stopped to consider that wasn’t the case for many women before us.
Now though, with the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last Friday, women around the world are pausing to reflect on the rights we take for granted because of her advocacy and pursuit of equality. From controlling our own finances to controlling our own bodies, RBG didn’t just move the needle on gender equality, she used it to tickle the patriarchy.
Her death combined with the unbelievable hypocrisy of a Republican-controlled Senate that four years ago refused to hold a hearing or vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee, saying it was too close to the election (nine months prior) and the American people should have a say in their next appointed member of SCOTUS — threatens to move that needle back to the 1950s.
How Mitch McConnell and his mindless GOP cronies, including Utah’s Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, can suggest they care about anyone is this country is inconceivable. The only thing more ludicrous is that people in Kentucky (and Utah) continue to vote for a guy who would rather rush a Supreme Court nomination hearing than pass a relief bill for those impacted by COVID-19.
May the women and men who value progress, equality and decency exercise their right to vote this November.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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