Lie Down With Ginni, Rise Up With Clarence

The mother of my boyhood best friend had an aphorism for every occasion. It was obvious “lie down with dogs, rise up with fleas” meant a person is judged by the company they keep. Another of her favorites, though, one that was not completely comprehensible to me at the time, was “marriage makes strange bedfellows.”

I’d say George and Kellyanne Conway are definitely a pair of strange bedfellows. It appears they have very little in common except, maybe, the bed.

Not so Clarence and Ginni Thomas. Whether or not they share a bed, when it comes to political orientations, they are definitely in bed together. Thanks to Ginni, the last time
Clarence rose up from it, he probably was feeling a bit itchy

Thomas was the lone dissenting Justice, the only one out of five extreme right wing Justices, when the Court rejected a Trump bid to block release of White House records to the January 6 Commission. These included texts between Mark Meadows and Ginni Thomas that Meadows had already turned over. They are incredibly revealing and damning regarding her anti-democratic activism. How much more revealing might be the ones that Meadows has, so far, refused to hand over? And whom might they damn?

Why did Thomas dissent? He didn’t say, and he’s not obligated to say. But being so out of sync with the rest of the Court, wouldn’t a Justice feel an explanation were warranted? Maybe he can’t justify it because it has no Constitutional basis. If there were one, don’t you think at least one or two of the ultra-conservative Justices would have voted with him?

Then again, presumably, their spouses didn’t happen to be in constant contact with the treasonous Trump team on that horrific day, spouting off Q-anon conspiracy myths, cheering them on and offering creative ideas for their coup attempt, and, as is typical of Ginni’s ilk, invoking the aid of the Almighty in that unholy endeavor.

Ginni was in the thick of the rebellion, as guilty of treason as those who stormed the Capitol.

If the vote was based on concealing his wife’s January 6 role, Thomas must have known it was an exercise in futility; that it would only draw attention to it and envelop the two of them in a web of suspicion. All it accomplished was to make clear his opposition to ( attempted obstruction of?) the vital work of the Select Committee.

While some might speculate Thomas’s vote was based on Meadows’s claim to executive privilege, if that were a legitimate point, again, one or more of the other Justices would surely have concurred.

Thomas is famously tight lipped, but could it be that, privately, he’s in accord with Ginni regarding her delusional extremism? If he hasn’t been all along, perhaps he’s fallen victim to a folie a deux, a well known psychological condition in which the rational member of a couple comes to share in the irrational one’s delusions.

Thomas has built a reputation as a conservative’s conservative. If you find it puzzling that a Black man would not possess at least a modicum of liberality, Corey Robins’s book, “The Enigma of Clarence Thomas” may prove enlightening.

In an interview with Joshua Cohen (Sept. 24 2019, the Boston Review), Robins explains that Thomas started out as a liberal Black, but after the several assassinations of the 60s and the White backlash that put Nixon into the White House, the civil rights movement ran out of steam and he hung a sharp ideological right. Why? Robins says those events made Thomas a victim of “racial despair,” a belief that racial prejudice is so pervasive and intractable that legislation is impotent to remediate it.

Thomas adopted the argument that social programs actually are counterproductive to the advancement of Blacks because they denigrate and ultimately disempower them.

In Thomas’s view, the adversity and exclusion Blacks had faced during the Jim Crow era motivated them to develop their own “civilization and culture,” one that encouraged and rewarded organizational independence and self-sufficiency.

Thomas, according to Robins, believes that equality can be attained only through economic means. Despite prodigious obstacles, says Thomas, Blacks must succeed by means of the capitalist model through their individual efforts. In light of the above one can understand his opposition to affirmative action. Robins says Thomas became a “Black Nationalist,” more philosophically aligned with Malcom X than MLK. If we see White Nationalism as merely Black Nationalism’s flip side, both movements ultimately accepting prejudice and exclusion as inalterable, perhaps his political alignment with his White Nationalist wife becomes more understandable.

There is a double irony to his belief that prejudice is immutable. Not only is it out of step with current societal trends, as large segments of younger generations become more comfortable with the idea of mingling the races in all aspects of life, but it also is belied by his own mixed-race marriage. Laws and societal attitudes don’t change things? If that were the case, miscegenation would still be a crime and the good Justice would have faced his own day in court or have been tried, sentenced and executed by a mob on his wedding day.

Given their “best friend” status, it is hard to imagine that Clarence isn’t fully aware of his wife’s delusions and activities. They claim not to discuss their professional activities. There’s no doubt, even if he doesn’t know all the gory details, he is aware of her ultra-Trumpian orientation and high profile work on it’s behalf. The real question is whether he sees it for the evil it is and whether he has attempted to knock some sense into her. If he has tried, he has failed. On the other hand, could it be he has made no attempt because he is in accord with her? Is Ginni “Clarence’s Clarence?”

Maybe she alone was the infested one before they lay down together, but, at the moment, Clarence sure looks like he’s itchin’ and scratchin’. If he secretly agrees with Ginni, it’s frightening to think how much power he has to further the goals of the White Christian Nationalist movement, one that endorses, in its worst form, armed rebellion to undermine the fundamental tenets of democracy.

As I see it, Ginni Thomas’s choice to participate in a scheme to overthrow a free and fair election makes her a traitor. Her husband’s vote could cast him in the role of a co-conspirator. Perhaps the vote, so out of sync with the rest of the conservative Justices, was just a lapse in judgement brought on by a protective impulse. Perhaps. Or it could be seen as something worse. Much worse.

Thanks to the idiotic process of selecting Justices and the abuse of that process, as well as lifetime appointments, we have wound up with a Court that is methodically eviscerating the democratic values that were enshrined in the very Constitution it is tasked to protect. They will likely continue doing so for some time to come, and Thomas will surely continue to do more than his fair share of eviscerating.

With reason, Democrats are calling for him to recuse himself from all cases that involve the January 6 insurrection, but, really, even in the unlikely event were to, is that enough? The way it looks to me, Thomas deserves to be removed from the Court. Indeed, in an ideal world, he’d never have been appointed to it. For that matter, neither would his other four ultra-right wing colleagues.

No one is totally unbiased, but extreme bias such as Thomas’s should be a prime basis for disqualifying a Court nominee. Unfortunately, as the system is now functioning, it’s a prerequisite.

Now dominated by Justices of Thomas’s ilk, the Court has been transformed essentially into a proxy organization for the super-rich and for White Christian Nationalist America. These are the Ginni Thomases of the nation with their greed and their anti-democratic, anti-semitic, anti-LGTBQ, anti-intellectual, racist and misogynistic program. And now, arguably, with their treason.

Ginni’s pockets bulge with filthy lucre paid to her by such organizations. (By the way, in 2011 the Tomases failed to report $700,000 of her income from conservative organizations and were forced to amend their tax return. Just an oversight? Sure, how can you keep track of every measly three quarters of a million?) Putting aside how this may reflect on the good Justice’s ethics, regardless of how they handle their finances, do you think these two soul mates don’t share in her ill gotten gains? Talk about conflicts of interest. Is profiting off of organizations that regularly bring suits to the Court and not recusing from such cases a ground for impeachment? If not, tell me what is.

With his vote, Clarence Thomas has, at least symbolically, tied himself to those who would destroy democracy in order to maintain their power in a society where they are rapidly becoming a minority. Further, he is aiding and abetting those who would be pleased to see people like him back where they were in the heyday of Jim Crow. What could be more despicable?

Of course Thomas will suffer no consequences for his behavior, but, just as his Court deserves the low approval ratings it now garners, he is surely deserving of our scorn.

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