The Magnanimous Gesture of Virginia Thomas
October 21, 2010 in Crazy Wingnut News
Ginny Thomas, conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, raised hackles this week when she left a voice message for Anita Hill, whose accusations of sexual harassment against Mr. Thomas at his confirmation hearings nearly 20 years ago riveted, and divided, the nation.
The hostility and disrespect Ms. Hill faced from many of the Senators back then is scarcely conceivable today. Thomas was confirmed and has since served as arguably the least distinguished member of the Court in living memory.
Nonplussed by reality, Ms. Thomas asked Ms. Hill to “consider an apology sometime and a full explanation” for what she did to her husband, and to “pray about this.” She later characterized her call as “extending an olive branch” in order to “get past what happened so long ago.”
There is historical precedent for such outreach. Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Washington unearthed letters written by survivors of the infamous Donner Party to the families of those they had cannibalized. One such letter, from a Mr. Angus, complained that one Phil Smith, 17, had been “a bit gamey” and had caused Angus “vexatious stomache trubels.” Angus requested 3 mules and a pound of chewing tobacco from Smith’s family as compensation. It is unknown whether he received the tobacco.
Attempts at reconciliation have been popping up left and right in the news ever since Ms. Thomas left her message:
- Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for governor of New York, announced that he would meet with Native American tribal leaders to discuss the building of new casinos as soon as they repaid the $24 they were given in beads, cloths, and trinkets for Manhattan. Paladino said that the overpayment was due to the “bloated bureaucracy and runaway spending policies ” and “catering to special interests” of the Minuit administration.
- John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, was so moved by accounts of Ms. Thomas’s overture that he reached out to Yoko Ono from his cell at the Attica Correctional Facility. He asked Ms. Ono to acknowledge that she and John had indeed stepped in front of him on line at an ATM on the evening of December 8, 1980, and to stop opposing his parole applications.
- During his weekly general audience on Wednesday, Pope Benedict unveiled a new ecumenical program aimed at healing long-simmering rifts with Jews. Expressing the Vatican’s desire to get past the mistrust caused by the Crusades, innumerable pogroms, and forced conversions, the Pope asked that Jews apologize and provide a full explanation for centuries of drinking the blood of Christian children, poisoning wells throughout Europe, and hoarding financial institutions. The same day, the Institute for Historical Review said they were willing to let bygones be bygones if only the Jews would finally admit to making up the Holocaust.