Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Justice Clarence Thomas, A Look Back-1991

It was way back in October of 1991, which today seems like it forever ago, but for me, it was like it happened yesterday. How many of you out there are even a little bit familiar with the Clarence Thomas hearings for his seat on the Nation’s highest bench, the Supreme Court? I am sure that once I mention this next name, you will probably remember the “sound bite’s” like, isn’t he the guy who harassed that women, etc? Do you remember the name of Anita Hill? Now your memory was jogged a bit I’m sure. So why you may ask write about these hearing’s what was so significant about these hearings? I’ll begin here…… I grew up in Waterbury, Ct. A town of about 100,000 souls & specifically, I grew up in the Brooklyn section of Wtby. What this means is that I grew up in the most unique of all the “section’s”, of which Wtby. had many. What made Brooklyn unique is that we were what I & some of my friends called “the mixed nut’s”, meaning we had Black, White, Hispanic, Lithuanian & basically many Ethnic backgrounds in this little section of town cut in half by the massive flood of 1955 & the subsequent development of Interstate rt. 8 which ran literally out my back door! So what I am saying is that the issue of Race has always been important to me. From all accounts I can see & from everything I have read, when people, regardless of their skin color, are given an “even” chance, which btw, when you grow up in a City like a Waterbury friends & are a person of color, the truth is that the odd’s are against you, because there is a very good chance that you are or may be growing up in some form or another of poverty or low income & add to that the overwhelming statistics that further say you have a good chance of only having 1 parent at home, it makes things pretty rough & it’s easy to develop a “us against them” mentality, wouldn’t you agree? However, when given the opportunity to have a “level playing field”, look at what happens, look at the results! Many minorities have & continue to excel in our Country today because they had the means needed for them to succeed. Clarence Thomas, however is truly an exception to the rule. Raised basically by his grandparents in the deep & prejudice South in Georgia, this young man turned his anger of the injustices he saw & experienced around him, into an opportunity to learn & excel. In his recent book “My Grandfather’s Son”, he speaks at length about Pinpoint, Georgia & about the solid value’s his Granddaddy instilled in him & his brother, values which stay with Justice Thomas to this very day! So there are certainly exceptions almost any rule & Justice Thomas is certainly one! Okay, so if your still with me, you may ask “Al, what are you so fired up about here”? Well, President Bush Sr. nominated Mr. Thomas to sit on the Supreme Court, he would be the 2nd Black ever after Thurgood Marshall, however the dilemma starts here. Now what I am going to say here is about as honest as a person could write so hang on! So herein lies the Dilemma….. You see, although he is Black, Mr. Thomas is conservative, both Spiritually & Politically. He was running the EEOC at the time & was appointed to that position by President Regan, a Republican.
Now I must state for the record that it is commonly believed by the average “blue collar” working man that the Democratic Party is the “Party Of The People” & so of course they would support this nominee being a minority, a person of color despite close ties to Conservatives right? Think again for what ensued is what happens to a man, especially a minority if he or she chooses to “buck” the norm, if you will & “tie their own bootlaces” which is exactly what Mr. Thomas did all his life & now, the very people he once believed were on his side & working for people of Color & for those who didn’t enjoy that same “level playing field” we about to put him in his place! For it was at the last hour of the confirmation hearings, when it became clear that Thomas was going to have the votes needed that Senator’s Biden, Kennedy & especially Metzenbaum of Ohio released a last minute charade from Anita Hill stating Mr. Thomas sexually harassed her during her tenure at the EEOC serving under him. Thus a clear statement was being made in front of the whole Country & what was it? It was this: If you are Black or a Minority, you BETTER tow the party line, you better be a liberal, you should be taking some form of Gov’t. assistance to get you to where you are, etc. It was time for “hardball” & now a man of honesty, a man who worked very hard, was having his name smeared all over the Country. So let’s look at Mrs. Hill. What is interesting is this, who hired her at EEOC? Yes, it was Mr. Thomas & in fact when he moved offices, who followed him? Yes, Mrs. Hill did! Countless fellow employees’s testified on behalf of Mr. Thomas, male & female alike that he helped her countless times despite the fact she was in his estimation a sub standard employee. Now she saw her opportunity to grab the headlines & to bite the very hand that fed her. You may ask why, why would she do this. Well, under oath she testified that she would never receive any compensation for her testimony. I can personally tell you that some 6 Months after her appearance at the hearings, Anita Hill was the PAID guest speaker at the then Sheraton Hotel to a radical women’s organization & she was paid 15K for her appearance & has been on the “circuit” ever since & why in the world she has never been brought up on perjury charges is beyond me, while Mr. Thomas now has to fight for his life to save his good name, the good name of his dear Grandfather who raised him & taught him the value of all things. He referred to the hearings as a “high tech” lynching & I concur! I also found it interesting that Mr. Thomas wife was white & have always wondered if that also played a part in all this, only God knows. Now as a Pastor, I can tell you from FIRST hand exp. that just about 99% of people I have met or counseled who exhibit or have had some form of sexual problem, have RARELY harassed or bothered just ONE person. My exp. is that people with this condition just can’t contain themselves & so there are almost always multiple situations or one after another once exposed, however this was indeed an isolated situation, also casting serious doubt on Mrs. Hill’s charge. She said that Mr. Thomas made a reference to a Pornographic movie while they were alone in his office, but not ONE person was able to substantiate that charge, in fact to the contrary, Mr. Thomas was held in high esteem by his employee’s at EEOC & ALL throughout his career. Even his former wife of many years spoke favorably on his behalf. So I write all this because to this day, Clarence Thomas is thought of in a negative light, but I believe the fact’s & time have shown him to be an innocent man, while Anita Hill went on to use her appearance before the sub committee to prosper & continues to speak to this day! To further add insult to injury, the NACCP upon his nomination actually ordered ALL their chapters to remain NEUTRAL on his confirmation!
Now the last time I checked, it is called the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People, right? Well clearly not if your Black & Conservative! Chapters were told they could lost their charter if they spoke up for Mr. Thomas, so yet another travesty against a good Godly Man. Justice Thomas just released a book entitled “My Grandfather’s Son”. It is a fantastic book & a true monument & testimony to what hard work & commitment to the Lord & Godly principles can & will do for you when you choose to “do the right thing”. This is why Justice Thomas is one of my few “Heroes” & I am glad to say that he has been a good Justice on the bench & is not afraid to follow those values he learn from Grandpa as a child to this very day. The final vote back in 1991 was 52-48, a narrow margin & sadly our Senators from Ct. Lieberman & Dodd both voted against Thomas, however Lieberman waited until the 50th vote came to cast his no vote, so he could see Mr. Thomas elected to the Court & also save face with the many special interest left wing groups, not one of his best moments for sure. In the end, I truly felt that EVERY person of Color along with any Minorities should have been outraged at the injustice toward this man. If you don’t “fit their mold” you will be “taken down” as it was stated later, but I am thankful today for such people like Dr. Thomas Sowell & many others of Color who have embraced Conservative thought & see the intrinsic value of “helping yourself” & not relying on the Gov’t. We are some 40+ years removed from what LBJ so proudly proclaimed would be the “Great Society”, 2 words I understand that his speech writer, Dick Goodwin found in some book, but in reality all this time later, we have seen firsthand that it does NOT take a Village to raise a child, but a Mother & Father like Mr. Thomas grandfather, it starts at home, not with the Gov’t friends.
Stay Tuned!

Al Stewart

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