Friday, October 21, 2011

Memory Serves

Brian Bolduc reminds us that it's been twenty years since Clarence Thomas became an associate justice on the US Supreme Court. 

Twenty years!  Yikes!

More to the point, Bolduc reminds us also that it's been twenty years since Thomas's Senate confirmations hearings.  Hearings that, in addition to the garden-variety calumny hurled by liberal Democrats at conservative Republican nominees, included as well a "high-tech lynching", involving ridiculous charges of vulgar sexual harassment, charges aided, abetted, encouraged, orchestrated, and financed by nearly the entire American Left.

It became riveting TV and I remember thinking at the time that it was for our generation the equivalent of the Alger Hiss trials of the late-1940s.  Everyone had an opinion about the veracity of the accused and his accusers and the debate revealed the fault lines of the American political divide like nothing else could.

Blessedly, the case made by the Left and Anita Hill, the woman who, at least initially, was a very reluctant witness, slowly fell apart.  Americans either lost interest altogether or concluded that Hill was indeed lying.  Polls at the time showed that a clear two-thirds of the American people believed Thomas over Hill.

Interestingly, a year or so after the hearings I remember another poll which showed exactly the opposite results, that is, two-thirds believed Hill over Thomas.  What had happened?  During the course of that year absolutely no new facts had been uncovered.  What had happened was that Left's campaign against Thomas continued through the elite media and it slowly had the intended effect.

Now, few seem to care.  It was not the Hiss moment I thought it might be.  Perhaps because for anyone interested to look, the facts were overwhelmingly on Thomas's side, and obviously so.  In the Hiss case, at the time, things were less clear (although they were pretty clear) and where one stood about Hiss's innocence became a very reliable litmus tests as to one's ideological orthodoxy.  (There was also a class element to the Hiss case that was not part of the Thomas hearings.)

Anyway, for twenty years now, in spite of what transpired, we've had a good man and a great justice sitting on the Supreme Court.

And twenty years later, remembering those hearings can make me hate the Left all over again.

As if I needed any prompting.

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