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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Pope's Preacher and Clarence Thomas

In the expressions of outrage over some Catholic priests having sexually abused boys of their faith in their parishes and churches, an uproar that has been going on for years now and is escalating, the Vatican official who has the position of being the only man who can preach to the Pope -- which I guess mainly means taking the Pontiff's confessions, whatever those might be -- added fuel to the fire a few days ago. This popely assistant likened all the fury being vented against the Catholics because of those criminal priests to the acts of anti-semitism to which the Jews have been subjected so widely and for so many centuries and even millenniums.

In response this man was assaulted verbally from many quarters, though especially by victims of that abuse and their supporters and also by Jewish groups. Demands for his apology and worse were instantly made, and within a day or two he said he was sorry. But the vestiges of his statement will undoubtedly remain trailing behind the issue for a long time to come, because it pulled in other issues that have the same quality of embers that keep on glowing red hot, until somehow traditions are finally snuffed out.

This seems to have been a case of a Church high official, alarmed at the torrent of attacks being leveled at the Church, casually pulling out of his mental grabbag an analogy that he thought was fully apt for the situation, before giving much consideration to any consequences.

I know a lady around here who one day a couple of decades ago similarly reached into a feedsack without looking in first. But a copperhead snake had crept in there ahead of her hand, and it quickly injected that hand with two fangs of poison, and she had to be rushed to the hospital first thing, to save her life, and today she is still alive and well and vigorously baking cookies and other good pastries..

But the preacher's remark also reminded me even more strongly of another incident that happened in the U.S.. Capitol at around the same time, that however didn't gain a fraction of the outrage stirred up by that antisemitism remark, though it certainly did with me.

The U.S. Senate was looking into replacing the distinguished but recently deceased Thurgood Marshall with another Rainbow to serve on the country's highest court, one Clarence Thomas, a towering embarrassment of a man put forth by what else than a Republican Senator. These hearings were marked by the intense heat that was put on the hapless candidate by one of his former coworkers, a young woman named Anita Hill. A legal person herself, she put forth a convincing charge against Thomas of having subjected her to his sexual harrassment.

The high point of the proceedings came when Anita Hill lined up before the Senators her entire immedate family, which consisted of her then very aged parents and her many siblings, of who she was the baby sister. It was a family marked by many achievements and a huge amount of pride.

I know about such large rainbow families. My wife's father was a member of one. So are you going to tell me that Ms Hill was going to parade before the Senate, the TV cameras, and therefore the entire country, including those parents tottering on the very edge of death, and she, the achieving and loving baby sister and the pride of her family, was nevertheless going to lie to one and all?


In his defence, Thomas, with all the bitterness at his command, compared himself to being a lynch victim.

I, for one, was highly offended. Thomas, though obviously physically a Rainbow and with even more of the Nigerian or whatever in him than I have, had also obviously never given a moment's thought to the horror of being hunted down, cursed, spat upon, stabbed, beaten, and probably burned at his feet, before being strung up in a tree and strangled to death in a noose, all to the cheers of a screaming, drunken mob in the fire and fury of a hot summer's night. No, he hadn't, sitting there in a business suit and obviously affluent, with his somewhat comely Euro wife sitting at his side in furious support for him (nowadays she has become a big Tea Partier), and being considered for one of the most prestigious and powerful posts in the land, and he was a lynch victim?

Nevertheless the Republican Senators, eager to humiliate all Rainbows for decades to come, and Democratic Senators who in their stunted understanding of things didn't want to be seen as being racist, nevetheless foisted upon us this man who was unqualified in all ways and has demonstrated that many times since, by having absolutely nothing of value ever to say and predictably always and automatically voting on the regressive side of issues while serving as the Charley McCarthy puppet to another judicial scoundrel named Scalia..



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