What Motivated Ginny Thomas?

Whether you believe Anita Hill or Clarence Thomas, it still seems weird that, almost twenty years after Hill made sexual harassment allegations against Thomas, Thomas’ wife, Virginia (Ginny) is still seeking absolution for her husband. The message* that she left on Hill’s office phone at 7:30 on a recent Saturday morning makes her seem like a woman who “doth protest too much.” She sounds like a woman who desperately needs confirmation that her husband was innocent and she knows that the only way she’ll get it is if Hill admits that she “did something” to the Supreme Court Justice.

But all she has really accomplished is to bring the charges out into the open again, with the result that people too young to remember the Senate hearings have had their curiosity piqued. Now a whole new generation will remember Clarence Thomas for his alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill.

Is Thomas so tortured by what happened  that she can’t let it go? Is she obsessed with Anita Hill? Why hasn’t she been able to move on? Or is she trying to get publicity for her own political activities?

In January, Thomas formed a lobbying group known as Liberty Central, which will be able to rake in corporate money to finance the fight against what she calls President Obama’s “hard-left agenda.”  She is a fan of hard-line conservatives like Rush Limbaugh,  Glen Beck and Laura Ingraham and she just loves the tea partiers.

Maybe she’s trying to send some kind of message that people like Anita Hill are enemies of conservatives like her and her husband. She might think that bringing it up again will cause other conservatives to get fired up about what liberals try to do to conservatives (although I don’t even know if Hill could be considered a liberal). If so, her plan could backfire: it might cause liberals to get fired up about what conservatives are trying to do to them.

Or maybe she’s just a kook.

The New York Times article about this is here.

*”Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.”


Friday Videos: A Discussion About Conservative Women

Betsy Reed, executive editor of The Nation, and Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don’t Cry, discuss the influence of conservative women in politics today.

The Nasty “L” Word: Liberal

liberalismA recent Gallup poll confirms that people in U.S. are increasingly identifying with a conservative ideology: 40% as opposed to 36% with a moderate ideology and only 21% with a liberal one. This may help to explain why so few people identify with feminism: it, too, is seen as liberal.

Why is it that liberals are so maligned (and not just now, or just in this society)? A liberal is a person who is not afraid of change. Maybe that’s what’s so threatening, because most people are afraid of change, even change for the better. We can see that in the health care debate taking place right now. Another Gallup poll lists 10 reasons why Americans are skeptical about health care reform, but the bottom line is, they don’t want to trade what they know for what they don’t know. They automatically assume that any change will be for the worse.

I also see a liberal as someone who is generous. (In fact, that’s one of the definitions of “liberal.”) That, too, is part of the problem: conservatives and moderates don’t like the idea of giving anything away for free and with no accountability. But just because liberals side with unpopular causes like public assistance and immigration reform doesn’t mean that they don’t care how these things are paid for or how they are accomplished. They just happen to believe that it is the responsibility of those who are better off to help those who are unfortunate. Funny how that lines up with the Christian message and yet so many Christians identify as conservatives. (See, however, the Sojourners web site for an example of Christians who believe that they are mandated to work for social justice.)

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