Monday, October 25, 2010

On Clarence Thomas

I have read the stories about Ginni Thomas' call to Anita Hill, asking for an apology for something that took place so long ago it could now vote if it was human. There was nothing more astonishing I could write about any of that so I did not.

But the story had legs and wings and wheels, even, and Maureen Dowd wrote about it recently:

Years later, some of the Democrats on that all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee told me they assumed there must have been a consensual romance between the boss and his subordinate. McEwen assumed so, too, because Clarence took Anita with him when he changed agencies. Hill has made it clear she felt no reciprocal attraction.

Joe Biden, the senator who ran those hearings, was leery of the liberal groups eager to use Hill as a pawn to checkmate Thomas. He circumscribed the testimony of women who could have corroborated Hill's unappetizing portrait of a power-abusing predator.

For the written record, Biden allowed negative accounts only from women who had worked with Thomas. He also ruled out testimony from women who simply had personal relationships with Thomas, and did not respond to a note from McEwen — a former assistant U.S. attorney who had once worked as a counsel for Biden's committee — reminding him of her long relationship with Thomas.

It's too late to relitigate the shameful Thomas-Hill hearings. We're stuck with a justice-for-life who lied his way onto the bench with the help of bullying Republicans and cowed Democrats.
Mmm. And guess what? In every single one of his decisions, Thomas has been avenging his public humiliation on the women of America. But nobody seems to notice that bit, except for poor old me.

The Clarence Thomas hearings turned many women into feminists. It was fascinating to watch all those men reveal how little they understood of the lives of women, fascinating to watch them groping for an explanation that would make sense to them.

A rejected woman out for revenge was the favorite one, I think. Those men simply had no experience with being the receiving party of sexual harassment, none whatsoever, and they showed it openly.

All that offered a pretty good reason for wanting more women in the Congress. To make sure that someone on those types of committees actually had some experience on the issue. Well, experience as the victim, at least.