• Desks in empty classroom like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Four Years Ago

    (Below is a letter I wrote my first class of senior-level government students. We lived through the election of 2016 together, and the day afterwards, I had them write letters to themselves that I saved for four years. Last week, I sent them those letters, along with this one. It’s been edited for privacy and brevity.) Almost four years ago, on the day after the election, I looked out at all of you from the front of my classroom and I wasn’t quite sure what to say. We were all surprised at how the election had turned out, and I knew there was a lot of emotion in the air.…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs son Austin in front of Supreme Court

    Tell Me How To Do It (Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

    I met Ruth Bader Ginsburg once, right after watching her sit for a case at the Supreme Court. I’d been assigned to teach Constitutional Law for a semester and although I wasn’t fully prepared to teach it, I took it on with zeal. I spent much of the previous semester reading court cases and planning out lessons. Sure, I wasn’t a lawyer, but I could still teach this course, right? As I was laying out my final syllabus for approval that fall, Shawn went into the hospital. I kept working on it, taking notes as he slept next to me and drafting lesson plans in between his bouts of nausea…

  • Shawn Brimley's guitar with sticker saying Kick Out the GOP
    Missing Shawn

    What Would Shawn Do? (Election Day 2018)

    Two years ago, Shawn put a sticker on his guitar that read, “kick out the GOP 2018.” Shawn was a Democrat, and after working at the Department of Defense and the White House for President Obama, he was hopeful for another Democratic win in 2016. It didn’t happen. Shawn was frustrated, yes, and like many Democrats he had strong opinions about the direction the country headed throughout 2017. He wrote articles and went on TV and radio to argue his point of view. He felt frustrated by much of the tenor of politics throughout the last year of his life. But Shawn also loved being an American, and he believed…

  • Image of gavel and book to represent Kavanaugh hearings and Marjorie Brimley's grief over missing Shawn
    Missing Shawn

    The Feminist in Our House

    Last week on Thursday, I took 55 kids down to Capitol Hill where we met with members of Congress and observed everything that was going on outside of the Kavanaugh hearings. It was an incredible day – my students were thrilled to learn more about the process and to be downtown at such an important and history-making moment. I came back exhilarated. An hour later, I was crying in the bathroom. Thank God we have private staff bathrooms where I can compose myself, because I’m not totally sure how I would have explained my emotions to my students. Did the hearings bring up all sorts of feelings for me? Yes.…