There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Clarence Thomas

I have been perusing blogs to see if anyone has posted about the Clarence Thomas interview or said anything about his new book. I haven't found anything yet but I admit I didn't look very hard.

I rarely post political opinions on this blog. I am not informed enough, usually am unable to be articulate enough to say anything of value other than to call George Bush an asshole but......I saw the interview. I heard the words come out of Clarence Thomas' mouth and in brief here is what I think.

He lied about his interactions with Anita Hill when he testified before Congress, he lied in the interview and he lied in his book.

He came from the poorest of the poor. He suffered greatly as a child.

He blamed the Catholic Church as a whole for a racist remark he heard about the assassination of Martin Luther King while he was in the seminary.

He commented to his wife when he learned about his appointment to the Supreme Court..."Whoop-de-doo," and said the appointment really meant nothing to him at that point.

There is a lot more he said and a lot more I could say, but I would just be rambling.

Clarence Thomas is an angry man. Clarence Thomas is a lying angry man. He needs to go to confession. Might make him feel better about himself.

JP is absolutely right.....Rather than say Clarence Thomas needs to go to confession, maybe I should say he needs to 'fess up. Telling the truth is so very cleansing. Confession is a Catholic ritual. Clarence alluded to being back "in the faith" thus my confession statement.


Anonymous said...

I remember when confession used to make me feel better about myself.

And then I got an attitude and decided it was none of the priests' business what my sins were.

Rhea said...

Anita Hill wrote a great New York Times opinion piece when the book came out. I found her email address and wrote to her and said I know she was telling the truth. Thomas just did what lots of men in power do. Abuse their power.

alphawoman said...

Usually the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Nunnie's Attic said...

I am a Catholic and I enjoy the cleansing (as you or someone else said) of my heart that comes from confession. Not everyone realizes that Catholics believe in both the bible and tradition. When Christ gave the apostles (the first priests) the power to absolve sins or hold them bound, a tradition was set. Now if what you are saying is the 'gospel truth' then poor old Clarence needs to get thee to a confessional!!


rosemary said...

jp: I clarified just for you
rhea: I agree. Why would Anita Hill put herself thru all that she did? Fun?
alpha: In this case, with both sides being so far apart, the middle is still scary as far as CT's actions.
Julie: the words were from his mouth to my ears.....gospel? His rendition maybe. These words are in his book as well.

gina said...

Oh Rosemary, my good friend. I am just not so sure about whether or not he lied. I remember watching the hearings on TV, and I remember thinking then that he was being railroaded. I watched two interviews this past week (have not read his book). While I got tired of hearing him say that he felt his Yale degree was looked upon as worthless because he was black - because he couldn't really be worthy of, couldn't have really earned, the degree, it was just bestowed upon him because of his race, I do believe that a certain amount of that attitude did, and does still, prevail among the elite white community. I do believe that there were many in power at the time of his appointment that did not want to see a black man who wasn't an outspoken liberal Democrat be appointed to the Supreme Court, and they pulled out all the stops to try to stop that from happening. I;ve always had trouble understanding why, if he were such a sexual harasser, Anita Hill followed him from job to job. If I were in her shoes, I'd run far away from someone who treated me the way she claims he treated her, job or no job, money or no money. I do think Thomas is right about one thing - it was all about his position on abortion. EVERY Supreme Court nominee's "acceptability" by either side is based upon their position on Roe v. Wade. Once they've passed that test - and depending upon who's in power, the "correct answer" varies, then we move on to other things that may or may not disqualify them from the appointment. I think it's sad that still, the focus is on Anita Hill, all these years later, rather than on what he's done on the bench. My goodness, even if he DID make comments to her of a sexual nature, they were both single at the time, and it's a far, far less serious accusation than having oral sex in the Oval Office with an intern when you're the married president of the USA. We seem to have readily and easily forgiven Bill his transgressions, why can't we give Justice Thomas the same consideration? Oh, I know why....because he denies it happened, and he must be lying, because we all know how MEN are, and why would SHE put herself through all that if it weren't true... that's right.

I still love you to death Rosemary, even if we disagree on this. :)

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I didn't watch the interview, know nothing of the book, so I don't have a dog in that fight. Whether he said it or not, the whole "pubic hair in your coke" line still cracks me up.

rosemary said...

It is good discussion....I watched the hearings too...I usually totally stay away from politics. I admit to my political stupidity. I just know how my life has been because of a political administration and how it is now. I worked in a male dominated field...medicine. I know what it feels like to be sexually harassed and how I was forced to laugh it off or act like I was stone deaf. I remember the first time a doctor patted my butt and how powerless I was to do anything about it. I can see no reason for Anita Hill to come forward and say what she did knowing full well she could possibly be destroyed. And for what it is worth I think Bill Clinton is a pervert. I love you too, Gina. You are well informed, can argue a good point and I never want to really discuss politics with you because I would shrink like a weed in winter. Now, will you PLEASE find a candidate for the board before the city whateveritis appoints some dolt and we are powerless?

kenju said...

I don't know which one of them is telling the truth, but I always thought Anita Hill was the more credible of the two.

Sandy said...

My opinion? Damn straight he lied. And even more, I think that all the Senators that voted to confirm he knew he was lying. After the fight re Bork's nomination, the conservatives were not going to let Thomas fail - no matter what. Two WSJ reporters wrote a book about their investigation into the whole process and came to the (surprising to them) conclusion that Thomas did in fact lie. The pity of it is that a man who held women in such low regard is now one of the most powerful men in the country and participates in deciding issues that directly affect women. And any woman who works with men knows what I'm talking about. It did however bring attention to the problem of sexual harrassment in the workplace. The day his nomination was confirmed, I told DH he was the only man I wasn't angry with. Bless his heart, he understood. And I watched or listened to the entire hearing. It was raw politics. When Kennedy made a statement, Hatch told him, "If you believe that, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you." Years later I learned they were the best of friends and Hatch had helped Kennedy get sober. Some of my passion re this may be because I also work in a male dominated field. Enough said.

JessnBekahsmom said...

Okay, here's my story. I used to work with a guy that had a party at his house. Everybody we worked with was there and so were his family members. I was sitting in his kitchen on a stool, holding a 2-year old. Well, when everyone else left the kitchen, I was still there holding the little girl and the guy's dad was talking to me. He reached over and groped my breast. I didn't want to freak out and either drop the kid or scare her, so I just tried to push his hand away. I was very upset!

When I tried to speak with the guy later and tell him what had happened, he laughed. He thought it was hilarious. He believed me, but he thought it was funny. I thought it was disgusting! I was about 25 years old and his dad was about 70!

The guy I worked with later told other people at work...and they didn't believe it! They thought I was lying! Then, later when a guy broke into my apt. and did disgusting things while I slept, nobody at work believed me about that either. They thought I was making it all up! Why would I? Why go to the trouble of making up something like that and then telling people about it?

I did not follow the hearings much, but I remember them. At the time, I thought he was telling the truth. These are the reasons for my doubts now.

rosemary said...

Sandy: YOU GO GIRL!!!!

Amy: At the time of the hearings I thought some of the stuff Anita Hill said was exaggerated and as Gina said she followed him for employment. I put up with it because I was a single parent and needed my job. To have said or done anything would have landed me in the street. After hearing him in the recent interview....I think every thing she said was true. Unless you have been on the receiving end of anything sexually unwanted, it is hard to understand how diffficult it was for Anita Hill. Amy, you are brave to tell me what happened to you.

Middle Child said...

Must be from US Politics or something...sorry have never heard of him...what did or does he do?

Cazzie!!! said...

Sounds like old Clarry aint gunna be anyones favourite person right now eh?

Red7Eric said...

I don't know whether or not Anita Hill told the absolute truth about Clarence Thomas, but I will admit to putting more stock in what the alleged victim of harrassment has to say in situations like this, because typically -- as in this case -- she has no reason to lie.

And to me, the comparison to Clinton is specious. Clinton was never accused of harassment; he was hung out to dry because he didn't tell the entire truth about his affair with Lewinsky when he should have. I still contend that it was none of our business, but he WAS under oath. In any event, Monica Lewinsky -- by all accounts -- was a willing participant in everything that transpired between Clinton and herself. If we are to believe Anita Hill's testimony, she did nothing to encourage or reward Thomas' advances -- and that's sexual harassment. And no, I don't believe that Clinton has recieved a "pass" -- his affair with Monica will likely be the first thing that history remembers him for. The only reason we think of him so fondly in 2007 is that we're comparing him to the current President, who suffice to say, pales in the comparison.

Back to Clarence: I just think he's a hypocrite. He is an example (and could have been a GOOD example, I think) of how Affirmative Action, a well-intentioned program, gave a head start to a young black man with more smarts than he had resources ... but as soon as Clarence achieved success, he seemed to do everything he could to close the door behind him so that no one else could get through ... sad.

gina said...

Actually, technically Red, what Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky does fit the definition of sexual harassment, despite the fact that she was a "willing participant." There are several types of harassment. Clinton's behavior fits into at least three of the several categories with regard to Lewinsky. Wikipedia lists the categories that are defined by Dzeich (Dzeich et al, 1990) and Truida Prekel. He fits very nicely the Power-player, Opportunist, Father Figure, and Intellectual Seducer categories, so I beg to differ as to whether he was a harasser or not. AND, he WAS accused of sexual harassment by Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and others. The fact that there was not equal power between the two people involved is huge. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a case could have been made that women employed at the White House were exposed to a hostile work environment in which sexual behavior was made central to career advancement for young women. The stories of Willey and others made it evident that the president was well-known as a man on the prowl. Lewinsky was naive enough to think that Clinton had feelings for her, and that their relationship meant something more to him than it did. In Meritor Savings Bank vs. Vinson, the Supreme Court ruled that "voluntariness" does not negate claims under Title VII. Additionally, other interns who did not have sex with the president, and were not offered full-time jobs, might also have had a case under Title VII. Given the above, I think comparing Clinton to Thomas is far from specious.

Now, as to the alleged victim of sexual harassment risking more by coming to the fore, in the vast majority of cases, I agree with you 100%. And MOST of the time, I would side with the victim. I have almost always worked in male dominated fields, and have endured more than my share of sexual harassment over the years. But given the state of politics in this country, I am not naive enough to think that someone who wanted to besmirch someone's reputation couldn't find the means to entice someone into making a false claim of almost any sort, especially a "he said, she said" type of claim. If anyone thinks Anita Hill's reputation suffered as a result of coming forward, they are naive. The woman has clearly gained the sympathy and admiration of at least half the nation. I'm not saying she lied - I wasn't there. I'm just saying she COULD have been "rewarded" for her testimony. Politics is an ugly, ugly business. And truth be told, I don't like any of the politicians - right or left or in the middle. I'm just downright disgusted with the whole schmeer.

Okay... I really need to get off this soapbox. I'm getting a nosebleed.

Lorraine said...

I'm sending you an oped from the NY Times today. It picked up on the main thing you point out, which has been lost in all the kerfuffle, which is that he's an angry, angry man. An angry man with grudges. And angry men with grudges should be watched, especially when they are in the position of sitting on cases that might involve the people/organizations against whom they are angrily grudgy.

And I wish you wouldn't apologize for rendering the ocassional political opinion. A) You're as smart as anyone else in the room and 2) you have every right to any and all opinions you may choose to render.

Also, you are sweet.

more cowbell said...

I kept planning to find out more about the book so I could be "informed" as opposed to just "spouting off", but I haven't had time, so screw it.

Gina, I agree w/ several of your points, although we disagree on the final conclusion. I did like your point about what he had to deal with in life. Yes, absolutely, Clarence Thomas had to deal with boatloads of racism, prejudice, and situations that I can't even imagine. Of course he did. And of course he had some damn anger behind that. Anyone would. I would just say that it's a rare black man in American who hasn't dealt with that, and those of his generation, well, he wasn't alone.

But not all men of his generation took the route he did. Not just with Anita Hill, but the power he holds now over others who are now trying to come up within a racist society. It's like now that he's got where he wants to be, he's all about that friggin' bootstrapper mentality. And he holds power over all those coming behind him.

Also, what Gina said about the harassment and men in positions of power and that whole dynamic -- spot on. Hell yes.

I just feel that Clarence had a responsibility, he had an incredible opportunity, an opportunity to affect things, to make things better. He has an experience that the other 8 have not. He could've increased understanding around that, he could've done so much in that regard. God, what a difference he could have made.

Red7Eric said...

Gina: All good points, many of which I hadn't considered before ... with citations yet! Well done ...