Wednesday, October 20, 2010

G. Thomas v. A. Hill...

You have no doubt heard about Ginni Thomas’s off-the-wall message to Anita Hill which she left on Hill’s office answering machine at Brandeis University.  If not, here it is:
Good morning, Anita Hill, it's Ginni 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 some time 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 come to understand why you did what you did.  OK, have a good day."  
Prof. Hill has told the NYTimes [Here] that the message was received at 7:31 on Saturday morning, October 9th.  She said that she had kept the message for a week, trying to decide if it were authentic or not.  She finally turned the message over to the campus police with a request to turn it over to the FBI. 
In a statement given to CNN, Thomas has acknowledged the phone call.  [Here]  
I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago.  That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same.  Certainly no offense was ever intended.
Prof. Hill responded to all of this fuss through a statement issued to CNN via Brandeis University: [Here]
I certainly thought the call was inappropriate...I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony. 
We should all remember that Prof. Hill did not voluntarily offer the sexual harrassment information to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991.  It wasn’t her idea to turn her life upside down. The harrassment charges were only discovered when the FBI interviewed her as part of a routine vetting procedure of Thomas for the Senate confirmation process.  Racy tidbits of that privately sworn FBI testimony were leaked to the press before Hill ever appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  That leak turned the hearings into a media circus.  
After so many years, it is hard to imagine what would have occasioned Ginni Thomas to make that phone call to Hill, but I guess we’ve learned not to be surprised at what either Clarence or Ginni Thomas does or says.  But still, 7:31 a.m. on a Saturday morning?  Had she been up all night thinking about this?  Did the Thomases concoct this together over their morning latte?  
It does also sound as if Ginni Thomas is a bit taken with herself, doesn’t it?  These days she certainly is in the center of partisan rightwing advocacy and money funneling.  After spending some time working for Rep. Dick Armey and then at the Heritage Foundation where she collected resumés for George Bush appointees, she is presently the founder and president of Liberty Central, an advocacy group that is currently very busy funneling money to rightwing candidates.  (All of this was made possible by that 5-4 Citizens United v. FEC decision that hubby Clarence voted for.)
Beyond the questions that we have about “why now, Ginni?,” this whole episode raises, once again, the question of conflicts of interest for Clarence Thomas who seems unphased by mingling partisan politicos with judicial oversight.  We’ll have more to say about this tomorrow.
I guess we’ll never know what inspired Ginni Thomas to pick up that phone a couple of weeks ago and call Anita Hill.  It also must have taken determination and time to get the right phone number for Hill’s college office, proving that Ginni had some scenario in mind.  
Do you think she thought that it was worth a try and maybe Anita Hill would snap at the offer?  Could Ginni be that intellectually challenged?
You don’t have to answer that...

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