Clarence Thomas and the Republican Far Right


Undoubtedly
many people don’t think Howard Stern is funny, but he does
have his moments. In one of his books, Stern has a picture of himself
superimposed at a Nuremberg rally where he is seen cheering wildly
and enthusiastically, giving the straight- arm Nazi salute to Adolph
Hitler. The juxtaposition of Stern and Hitler is, of course, a ludicrous
image. But when some people consider the course of Clarence Thomas’s
career in the far right politics of the Republican Party, they may
experience a similar inane incoherence. 

According
to a recent report by the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights,
the Bush administration is pursuing policies that serve to resegregate
America. The report claims there is now a “judicial assault
on civil rights” and “We may awaken from our current preoccupation
with national security to find ourselves a nation more divided,
less equal, and therefore less secure, than before.” The report
claims, “These decisions have reversed the progress of earlier
years and lead to a trend towards resegregating America.” 

The
Republican convention that chose George W. Bush as their candidate
for the presidency looked like a gathering of the Rainbow Coalition.
Blacks on the podium discussed racism as Native Americans, Asian
Americans, and Hispanics recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang
the national anthem. Yet, on the floor of the convention there were
only around 100 blacks out of 2,000 delegates on the floor, around
5 percent of the total. 

Republicans
have not been the champions of blacks in recent years when it comes
to equal rights and desegregation. What, for instance, can Thomas
be thinking about the close association of Attorney General John
Ashcroft and the head of the DEA, Asa Hutchinson, with Bob Jones
University? This school fought segregation tooth and nail. When
blacks were finally admitted, interracial dating was forbidden.
This institution has a policy of non-discrimination when it comes
to discrimination. They hate almost everybody. They also try to
bar gay alumni from the school, label Catholicism as Satanism, and
call Pope the Anti-Christ. 

As
governor of Missouri, Ashcroft resisted segregation and affirmative
action programs. He lobbied to defeat the appointment of Ronnie
White to a judgeship, slandering the man by calling him pro-criminal.
White would have been the first black federal judge from Missouri.
According to an ACLU report on the attorney general entitled, “Not
Moderate, Not Compassionate, Not Conservative,” Ashcroft “sponsored
legislation that would prohibit the use of affirmative action in
federal employment, contracting, and other federal programs and
activities” and that as a U.S. Senator he “voted to eliminate
programs…to help businesses owned by women and minorities.”
The report states, “The Justice Department defends the very
programs that Ashcroft sought to eliminate-including the federal
contractor nondiscrimination requirements and program- specific
minority and women- owned business provisions.” 

Ashcroft,
too, is non-discriminatory when it comes to discriminating. He doesn’t
seem particularly predisposed towards gays, either, trying to thwart
their appointment to political office. Ashcroft has asked potential
male employees if they had the same preferences as most men. He
has been quoted as saying, “Well, you know, I believe that
the Bible calls [homosexuality] a sin and that defines sin for me.”
(Do you suppose Ashcroft hates Dick Cheney’s gay daughter,
Mary?) 

What
can Thomas possibly think about the links of several prominent Republicans
to the Southern Partisan? This magazine has called
South African blacks “blood thirsty savages.” The Partisan
has claimed that David Duke represents the “American Ideal.”
They praised Duke as “a candidate concerned with ‘affirmative’
discrimination, welfare profligacy, the taxation holocaust…a Populist
for recapturing the American idea.” 

One
author asserted that slave owners were concerned about the “peace
and happiness” of their slaves. Another article says, “Neither
Jesus or the Apostles nor the early church condemned slavery…there
is no indication that slavery is contrary to Christian ethics.”
They consider Abraham Lincoln a “consummate conniver, manipulator
and a liar.” An edition published in 1984 discusses “the
sinister Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln—an
invitation to the slaves to rise against their masters.” 

If
you are not a straight male of specific Northern European ancestry,
you are in real trouble with these people. Another article said,
“Negroes, Asians and Orientals have no temperament for democracy.”
Yet another states, “Italians, Jews and Puerto Ricans”
live in New York, not “Americans.” Another article claims
that, “The tides of immigration turned negative: were characterized
by the losers of political history…the Italians and the Irish…the
dull-spirited and pagan, such as the Scandinavians…and by people
to whom the tenets of our republic were altogether aliens, such
as the hieratic Jews.…” 

As
for the role of women, the Partisan has stated that, feminism
is a “revolt against God” and “Feminists, ethnic
minorities, sodomites and other ‘victims’ of the majority
culture are demanding special recognition and privileged status.” 

Ashcroft
has been quoted praising the work of the Southern Partisan.
He stated that the southern revisionist must stand up for these
beliefs “or else we’ll be taught that these people [confederate
soldiers] were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes
and their honor to some perverted agenda. No wonder the attorney
general is endorsed by the John Birch Society. 

What’s
Thomas thinking when he hears about Bush’s links to the southern
apologists, such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy and
the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which has been referred
to as the “Uptown Klu Klux Klan?” The CCC claimed that
Dr. Martin Luther King was a communist. (This, of course didn’t
keep Bush from appearing with Coretta Scott King on the day commemorating
her husband to declare the great civil rights leader “an American
hero.” Blacks constitute a valuable voting block and must be
assiduously courted or disenfranchised, depending on how they are
expected to vote at the polls.) 

Writers
for the CCC have also stated that whites are superior to blacks
in “intelligence, law abidingness, sexual restraint, [and]
academic performance.” What of Bush’s refusal to take
a stand on the flying of the Stars and Bars over government buildings,
a flag which has extreme racial connotations for our nation’s
blacks? 

What
does Thomas think of Rep. Bob Barr and Trent Lott’s close association
with the CCC? As Fairness and Accuracy in Media (FAIR) has pointed
out, Barr was the keynote speaker at the Council’s national
conference and was pictured in the group’s newsletter, Citizens
Informer
, addressing the Council’s board and posing with
several CCC leaders. FAIR also notes that the Washington
Times and the Village Voice have both reported that
Sen. Lott is a longtime member and supporter of the organization.
Jesse Helms has been a featured speaker. 

FAIR
reports that the CCC website featured an essay titled “A Call
to White Americans,” urging “fellow white Americans to
look at the faces around you: Find the faces like yours and see
them as your brothers and sisters. Find the fair-skinned babies
and see them as your children.” Another section of their website
featured a screed called “Our War” with one section entitled
“The Values of the Traditional White South That Have Been Targeted
for Destruction.” 

As
a justice, was Thomas bothered when Bush refused to grant a pardon
to a black inmate, Kevin Boyd, who had spent 12 years in prison
and then was exonerated when DNA proved conclusively that he could
not have been the rapist? 

What
about the complaints by the NAACP when Bush was governor of Texas
that his organization provided hardly any jobs for blacks on the
construction and operation of the Texas Ranger stadium, which was
paid for by the taxpayers? 

Does
Thomas rally behind Bush’s efforts to appoint anti-civil rights
judges? What of the Pickering nomination? As a law student, he had
written articles in support of segregation. He intervened to try
and reduce the sentence of a man who burned a cross on the lawn
of a ‘mixed-marriage‘ couple and then fired shots into
their house (never mind Pickering’s lackluster, mediocre career
in jurisprudence with an impressive number of reversals to his credit). 

What
about allegations that Chief Justice Reinquist, as a Republican
operative in Arizona, challenged and harassed minorities at polling
stations in an effort to intimidate them from voting? 

What
does Thomas think of Dick Cheney, a man who opposed sanctions for
South Africa because of their apartheid policies? He was against
requesting the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. 

What
does he think of Pat Buchanan’s racist screeds? In the 1996
primary, his campaign chair had to resign when his ties to white
supremacists became known. What about reports of Ann Coulter’s
anti-Semitism, her slurring of Mineta with overtones of prejudice
against Asians, and her opinion that there should be racial profiling
of “swarthy males?” 

Surely,
Thomas must be aware that the Republican Party is the home of the
former secretary of the interior, James Watt, an anti-environmentalist
and mentor to Gale Norton. He once commented, “We have every
kind of mix you can have. I have a black. I have a woman, two Jews
and a cripple.”  

Then
there’s Jeb Bush? Does it bother Thomas that when asked by
a black women, when he was running for office, what he would do
for Afro-Americans if elected, that his response was, “Probably
nothing.” What about his efforts to dismantle affirmative action
programs? By now, even the mainstream press is being forced to acknowledge
that Jeb and Katherine Harris deliberately planned to disenfranchise
black voters. According to books such as The Best Democracy Money
Can Buy
by Greg Palast, Michael Moore’s Stupid White
Men,
and Jews for Buchanan, black votes were suppressed
by the use of faulty voting machines in predominantly black neighborhoods,
the purging of innocent people wrongly accused of being felons,
faulty ballots, the relocation of voting centers days before the
election without announcement, police roadblocks near minority polls
to intimidate and harass blacks, and the lack of computers for voter
verification at the polls. 

What
can Clarence Thomas think about the rampant racism that exists to
this day in the Republican Party? Thomas’s political stance
serves to deny that justice to other blacks. Having benefited from
policies designed to ensure that, as a black, he would have certain
advantages in gaining an education and a career to compensate for
years of discrimination against his race, he would now end that
benefit for other African-Americans. 

Blacks
in the administration of George W. Bush give the cosmetic appearance
of racial equality to the Republican Party and may sucker some minorities
into voting for them, but to anyone who has paid attention to the
policies of Dubya and his supporters, they know that they plan to
turn back the quest for equality several decades.                                Z