The Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill story has crashed back into public consciousness, thanks to Thomas’s wife’s bizarre suggestion that Anita Hill apologize. And that prompted an old flame of Clarence Thomas, who has kept quiet for 19 years, to emerge from the woodwork.
Like many people, I was transfixed by the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991. Anita Hill was so believable..and yet, so was Thomas. Who to believe? What was the truth?
Liberals blindly sided with Anita Hill’s lurid accusations against Clarence Thomas. Meanwhile, conservatives claimed that Anita Hill was making it all up, a mere pawn of liberals.
Today, I am neither Republican nor Democrat. But back then, I was mostly Republican. And yet, after listening to endless hours of testimony, in my gut I felt Anita Hill was telling the truth. I had no way of knowing if my gut reaction was correct or not. That’s just how I felt. I WANTED to believe Clarence Thomas, I really did. And I was glad to see him confirmed. But I always felt Anita Hill was, at the least, telling MOSTLY the truth of what she experienced.
It was a truly puzzling story. Could there be a middle ground somewhere?
Now, some evidence is coming out to confirm my gut reaction. The Washington Post tells that story.
Lillian McEwen (right) was dating Clarence Thomas prior to the hearings, and she kept quiet. But now she’s speaking, and what she has to say confirms what Anita Hill accused Thomas of doing–his fascination with porn, his treatment of women, etc.
A lawyer and prosecutor, McEwen is retired now and living comfortably, with nothing to lose. She’s talking about the things she observed and heard from Thomas during their dating years. The Post article also collects what other women who worked with Thomas said, testimonials that didn’t get much airplay during the hearings but which align with what Hill and McEwen allege.
McEwen, as much as anything, is irritated that Thomas continues playing the indignant victim, making himself out to be someone she insists he most definitely was not. She’s had enough.
Anita Hill will never be exonerated, and Thomas will never be unconfirmed. But it’s always good for truth to come out.
But is this the truth yet? My gut is a bit more satisfied, but I remain open to surprises.