Clarence Thomas Isn’t A ‘Symbol Of The Trump Era.’ He’s An American Icon

Clarence Thomas Isn’t A ‘Symbol Of The Trump Era.’ He’s An American Icon

Ever since he matured from Marxist revolutionary to conservative heavyweight champ, the American left has felt free to smear Clarence Thomas.
Joy Pullmann
By

Ever since he matured from Marxist revolutionary to conservative heavyweight champ, the American left has felt free to smear Clarence Thomas in ways they’d scream “racism!” at if he were still one of them. It’s a half-century reminder of which political team consistently weaponizes a twisted conception of racism to obtain power at any cost, instead of recognizing racism as a moral evil with objective standards of transgression that apply equally to all.

In this reprehensible tradition, The New York Times published an article on May 18 titled, “Passed By for Decades, Clarence Thomas Is a New Symbol of the Trump Era.” The subtitle reads: “He isn’t yet the pop culture star that Ruth Bader Ginsburg — ‘Notorious R.B.G.’ to many — is. But his fans think he could be.”

The article was prompted by a documentary condensed from 30 hours of unpredecented interviews with Thomas, and his deep influence on the legal system through former clerks appointed to influential positions and his years of applying the Constitution on the bench. “Created Equal: Clarence in His Own Words” showed on PBS this week after its release in February.

Thomas has provided a substantive legal philosophy with which to deconstruct a century of garbage leftist legal decisions like Roe v. Wade. This frightens the left because their most significant legal decisions are weaker, built out of thin air and imposed on the country without its consent. Thomas’s work threatens theirs, and thus he must be destroyed by any means possible.

Naturally, the Times writer thus tries to politicize Thomas’s work by associating him with President Trump and the “fringes” of the political right:

Renewed interest in his life, work and philosophy may be coming from the same place as that in Justice Ginsburg: the Trump era.

Justice Thomas, currently the longest-serving justice, is known as Mr. Trump’s favorite on the court, with many in the legal world citing the numerous former Thomas clerks who have been tapped for the federal bench.

As Justice Ginsburg has become the flag bearer of the Supreme Court’s diminished judicial left, Justice Thomas, who spent years dissenting on the fringes, is a potent symbol for an ascendant conservative wing.

Notice the biased comparison: Ginsburg is a patriotic and heroic “flag bearer,” while Thomas is a weird crank “dissenting on the fringes.” Also notice how being on the fringe is only depicted as evil when it’s something a New York Times writer thinks is “right-wing fringe,” such as opposition to abortion — a majority American stance. Being on the left fringe, however, like the until-birth infanticide-legitimizing Ginsburg, is a mark of being forward-thinking and “progressive” and mainstreamed in the Democratic Party platform.

The Times piece throws in a fabricated link to those hateful Christian right-wingers to enhance the smear by association effect for leftist readers:

…in many ways, Justice Thomas’s higher public profile is about the president, too. Mr. Trump rose to power with help of Christian evangelicals, who have long sought to change the makeup of the court, and they have largely been supportive of the judges he has appointed… Justice Thomas’s vote is crucial if conservatives wish to attain their longest-held ambitions, from rolling back abortion rights to ending affirmative action.

Let’s get something straight: Thomas was the epitome of American success long before Trump came along. God willing, he will be long after Trump is gone. The majority of Thomas’s decades of underground work that the Times has just begun to notice happened while Trump was, at most, a celebrity businessman with no political power or career.

Thomas was a voice for legal restraint and adherence to the Constitution long before that became hip on the right. He made his ideological transformation before the rejuvenated understanding of the Constitution among the American people that arose with Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, the creation of National Review, the rise of talk radio, the Reagan Revolution, Phyllis Schlafly stopping the bipartisan Equal Rights Amendment, and the breakup of all-leftist corporate media. If anything, it’s not Trump making Thomas an icon, it’s Thomas making successes in Trump’s presidency possible.

That’s because without Thomas’s decades of pouring his life into his judicial opinions and army of sharp clerks, neither would be available to a politician like Trump at this moment, nor to the American people. Conservatives have felt good and hard in other political domains the serious lack of a back bench to pull from — for example, the lack of personnel to execute an American First foreign policy, the lack of people skilled in decrusting bureaucracy, and the permeation of clueless big business types in education policy.

One of the right’s few big wins in the Trump era has been in transforming a far-left legal system into one poised to reduce judicial tyranny. That has only been possible because Thomas, and people like him, spent 40 years in the wilderness planting away patiently while enduring vicious scorn for sticking to their principles. As even the Times was forced to admit:

Many conservatives also now see vindication in the way the court has recently begun to adopt Justice Thomas’s thinking. His legal views spent the 1990s and the early 2000s bottled up as dissents and concurrences that his colleagues often did not sign onto. Now, many are becoming the law of the land.

This is a major encouragement to those of us who feel like a minority political voice. Thomas’s life and legacy is a shining beacon to all who are targeted for their beliefs, from serious Christians to constitutional conservatives to people called race traitors for thinking independently. He faced daunting setbacks and obstacles growing up dirt-poor with a single mom in Jim Crow Georgia.

Much smaller troubles keep many a man and woman from rising. But not Clarence Thomas — because Clarence Thomas is a great man, a great American, and an American icon. He is much more a towering American figure than any the left stacks against him such as Ginsburg: He is their superior in intellect, in character, in accomplishments, and legacy. Just watch “Created Equal” to get a taste of why.

Thomas doesn’t need the New York Times that constantly besmirches him to validate his achievements. In fact, getting their stamp of approval would be a degredation for a man of his moral and public stature. To we, the little people, who are now harassed perhaps no more by any entity than by our own governments, Thomas is a hero, because he understands justice, articulates it, and uses his office to see it served.

And yes, we definitely want some Clarence Thomas T-shirts.

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Her newest ebooks are"Classic Books for Young Children" and "32 Classic Games You Can Play Anywhere." @JoyPullmann is also the author of "The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids," from Encounter Books.

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