NPR logo Putting Things in Perspective

Politics & Society

Putting Things in Perspective


Okay, I have a confession to make. Sometimes I can be a glass-half-empty kind of gal. I find eternal optimists a little irritating. Why, I wonder, do they feel compelled to see the world through rose-colored glasses? Why can't they just face reality and see how tough it is? You'd think I've had a hard life the way I go on sometimes.

Truth is, I haven't. ... Which is why I find myself marveling at President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.

On today's show, I spoke with Lia Epperson, a professor of constitutional law at Santa Clara University; Ramona Romero, national president of the Hispanic National Bar Association; and Dahlia Lithwick, of about what it would mean to have a Hispanic woman like Sotomayor on the Court. I will leave it to others, more qualified than I, to render a judgment on her legal expertise. But, when it comes to making the most out of life Sotomayor is a role model for us all.

I can only marvel at the discipline and drive it took to travel from the South Bronx to a possible seat on the Supreme Court. How easy it would have been for her to settle for way less. Some might think losing her father as a child, and being raised by a single mom in a public housing project would have made her feel "disadvantaged" in some way.

But, no.

Here's how she sees it: "I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences."

Not "disadvantaged" but, rather, "blessed." And clearly she seized every opportunity that came her way.

It's enough to put a glass-half-empty gal like me to shame.

I think I'd better check that chip on my shoulder at the door.

— Lynn Neary