It would be hard to think of anyone whose portrayal in the media differs more radically from the reality than that of Justice Clarence Thomas. His recent appearances on 60 Minutes, the Rush Limbaugh program, and other media outlets provide the general public with their first in-depth look at the real Clarence Thomas.
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In an era when so many people have neither the time nor the patience to examine arguments and evidence, critics have tried to dismiss Clarence Thomas as someone who “sold out” in order to advance himself.
In reality, he was in far worse financial condition than if he had taken the opposite positions on political issues.
As late as the time of his nomination to the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas’s net worth — everything he had accumulated over a lifetime — was less than various civil-rights “leaders” make in one year.
Nobody sells out to the lowest bidder.
The other great myth about Justice Thomas is that he is a lonely and embittered man, withdrawn from the world, as a result of the brutal confirmation hearings he went through back in 1991.
Clarence Thomas was never a social butterfly. You didn’t see his name in the society pages or at media events, either before he got on the High Court or afterward.
In reality, Justice Thomas has been all over the place, giving talks, especially to young people, and inviting some of them to his offices at the Supreme Court.
Summers find him driving his own bus all around the country, mixing with people at truck stops, trailer parks, and mall parking lots. The fact that he is not out grandstanding for the media does not mean that he is hunkering down in his cellar.
Clarence Thomas’s sense of humor is terrific. Whenever I am on the phone with someone and laughing repeatedly, my wife usually asks me afterward, “Was that Clarence?” It usually is.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Thomas Sowell on Clarence Thomas
Meet My Friend Clarence, by Thomas Sowell: