In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and former chairman of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, to replace Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, under the chairmanship of now-Vice President Joe Biden, allowed Thomas's nomination hearings to become a circus in which Thomas was dragged through a personal hell, resulting in him saying, after his confirmation: "Mere confirmation, even to the Supreme Court, seemed pitifully small compensation for what had been done to me."
Unsubstantiated and graphic claims of sexual harassment against Thomas, brought by Anita Hill, a black attorney who worked for him at the Department of Education and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, were given full and open airing at the hearings.
Rather than the nomination and appointment of a black man, who rose from humble and poor roots, to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming a moment of pride for the nation and for black Americans, it was transformed, at these hearings, into an opportunity for character assassination and shame.
This sickening and shameful display should be a mistake of history we choose to forget. Yet, because Thomas is a conservative, liberals will never give up their ongoing campaign to destroy him.
Instead of the entertainment industry choosing to make a film about Thomas's remarkable life and achievements, HBO has now delivered to us "Confirmation," which dumps into the living rooms of Americans all the garbage of those hearings, breathing new life into the liberal campaign to undermine and destroy the credibility of a brilliant, conservative jurist who happens to be black.
It might be conceivable that HBO would choose to produce a feature to memorialize those hearings if any of Hill's allegations against Thomas were even partially substantiated. But none were. So, where is the news here? Where is the history here? Particularly, given the enormous personal cost that Thomas was forced to pay by giving public airing of Hill's unsubstantiated crude allegations, why would HBO choose to drag him, and the American public, through this again? What does this say about the "entertainment" business and about HBO?
Stuart Taylor Jr., now a fellow at Washington's Brookings Institution, who covered those hearings as a journalist for National Journal, calls the HBO movie a "Hollywood Hit-Job."
Taylor, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, ticks through glaring inconsistencies in Hill's behavior and testimony that the HBO feature ignores.
And, maybe most importantly, the feature ignores the fact that in the numerous senior management positions that Thomas held in his career, no one who worked for Thomas ever stepped forth to give credibility to Hill.
Clarence Thomas should be a role model for young black men. But advancing human liberty and dignity is not the priority for liberals. Their priority is advancing their left wing agenda and using blacks as a tool to do it.
Ongoing liberal attacks on conservative values, and perpetuation of stereotypes of black men as sexual predators, that the HBO production plays into in order to undermine Clarence Thomas, worsens the crisis among young black men that liberals pretend to care about. Programs, such as President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" program, launched to address the crisis among black men, will go nowhere as long as this continues.
Recently, there was consternation in some black circles about underrepresentation of black talent in the Oscar nominations. Perhaps blacks should be more concerned about the ongoing war on black men and entertainment industry exploitation and perpetuation of destructive black stereotypes.
Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at www.urbancure.org. To find out more about Star Parker and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Phil Roeder