Revisiting Clarence Thomas’s ordeal

Posted: Oct 25, 2010 12:01 AM

Ginni Thomas’s call to Anita Hill has, not surprisingly, provoked columns and blogging speculating what motivated the call, some wanting to relive those hearings of 20 years ago.

But how about considering the simplest and most straightforward scenario?

Mrs. Thomas knows that her husband was slandered. That his name and reputation remain tarnished as result of the sleaziest kinds of lies and character assassination delivered by Anita Hill. She knows, better than anyone other than Clarence Thomas himself, the pain her husband endures as result of these lies.

The alleged point of those Senate hearings was to examine a man’s qualifications and confirm his nomination as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Thomas’s performance on the Court over these twenty years has been exemplary. One might not agree with his conservative views, but his scholarship, professionalism, and original contributions are well established.

So is it inconceivable that Ginni Thomas might consider reaching out to Anita Hill to consider, after all this time, extinguishing, as only she can, the sordid cloud of innuendo that she created?

But it’s more than just how Clarence Thomas feels.

The “high-tech lynching,” as Thomas described it, was not about destroying one man, but destroying what that man stands for.

Would anyone believe for a microsecond that Anita Hill would have showed up in Washington if Clarence Thomas was a liberal?

This was not about a man’s qualifications for the Supreme Court but the threat of conservatism and the emergence of a black conservative icon that black Americans could look to and learn from.

When runaway slaves were captured and dragged back to the plantation, they were whipped in view of all, until no skin was left, so the lesson would be clear about what happens to renegades.

The civil rights movement, a movement about human freedom, morphed, after passage of the Civil Rights Act, into a left wing political movement. Freedom, once the prize, became the threat. It became all about politics and power.

Organizations like the NAACP, once about protecting life, liberty, and property of Americans of color, became about advancing a left wing political regime.

As Clarence Thomas writes in his autobiography “My Grandfather’s Son”, “Hypersensitive civil-rights leaders who saw racism around every corner fell silent when my liberal enemies sneered that I was unqualified to sit on the Court…”

It’s now business as usual that black conservatives are non-persons to traditional black civil rights organizations.

When the city of Oakland passed an ordinance aimed specifically to prevent a black pastor, Walter Hoye, from distributing pro-life literature outside an abortion clinic preying on black women, no civil rights organizations showed up.

When Crystal Dixon, a black Christian woman, was fired from her job at the University of Toledo for writing an op-ed in a local paper arguing that the homosexual rights movement is different from the black civil rights movement, no civil rights organizations showed up.

Justice Thomas writes that during his ordeal he received a call from Jehan Sadat, widow of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. She offered words of encouragement, saying that “…They are laughing at the United States around the world….Women around the world are suffering real oppression.”

There is particular irony here. Anwar Sadat was a leader who chose to think for himself. He decided to look truth in the eye and courageously step forward in the name of freedom and peace and reach out to Israel. For this he was assassinated.

Human liberty is about courage, dignity, eternal truths, and personal responsibility.

It’s why those wedded to a world defined by politics and uniformity feel so deeply threatened by men like Clarence Thomas and Anwar Sadat.

So it’s not so amazing that a woman like Ginni Thomas would reach out to Anita Hill. And it is not so amazing why a woman like Anita Hill would find this bizarre.