Or, at least Lillian McEwan tells us some of what some of us were looking for back in 1991. (H/t to reader and commenter cgeye for the link.)
To McEwen, Hill’s allegations that [Clarence] Thomas had pressed her for dates and made lurid sexual references rang familiar.
“He was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners,” McEwen said matter-of-factly. “It was a hobby of his.” McEwen’s connection to Thomas was strictly personal. She had even disclosed that relationship to [then-Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Joe] Biden, who had been her boss years earlier.
In her Senate testimony, Hill, who worked with Thomas at two federal agencies, said that Thomas would make sexual comments to her at work, including references to scenes in hard-core pornographic films.
“If I used that kind of grotesque language with one person, it would seem to me that there would be traces of it throughout the employees who worked closely with me, or the other individuals who heard bits and pieces of it or various levels of it,” Thomas responded to the committee.
I can understand why she was reluctant to come forward with her information about Thomas. After all, they had a consensual personal and sexual relationship. His interest in pornography and in sexually evaluating the women he worked with was apparently fine with (if not welcomed by) McEwen. I can certainly understand her reluctance to volunteer to be the African American woman to bring down only the second African American ever nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court because she thought his interest in porn was “boring.” I don’t think that was a realistic possibility–it would only have subjected her to public scrutiny and derision, and sadly, I don’t think that her testimony would have brought public opinion or the Senate Judiciary Committee around to supporting Antia Hill instead of Thomas. And after seeing what Hill was put through, I’m sure that made McEwen feel justified in staying out of it.
After all, if the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committeeknew about McEwen’s relationship with and opinions about Thomas and he really gave a crap, he could have turned up more stories from Thomas’s days at the EEO if he really wanted to. But, he didn’t–and that’s what was so appalling to those of us watching those confirmation hearings back in the autumn of 1991. It wasn’t just the leering and the prurient insults from Republican Senators like Orrin Hatch or Snarlin’ Arlen Specter. It was the obvious and embarassing ineptitude of the Democrats who used Anita Hill but chose not to support or defend her when public opinion went against them.
But, that’s pretty much the Democratic party relationship to women: use our issues as bargaining chips when it’s politically expedient, and then cherchez la femme when they lose elections. Funny how it never occurs to them to do a damn thing for us in exchange for our votes. What have I gotten out of my 24 years of party loyalty to the Party of the Jackass? Compared to the late 1980s when I started voting, sex education has been dumbed down, contraception has been politicized, abortion is more difficult to obtain for rural women and many poor women, the wage gap is stalled, there is no universal child care, and women remain overwhelmingly the uncompensated and unassisted caregivers for both the very young and the elderly.
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