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Friday, August 23, 2013

Bob Filner Channels Clarence Thomas

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has just resigned in the wake of sexual-harassment allegations. In his resignation statement, Filner said:
Now I have to caution the council about one thing, the city. I started my political career facing lynch mobs. I think we have just faced one here in San Diego. You are going to have to deal with that. A lynch mob mentality, rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment which have led to demands of my resignation and recall. Not one allegation, members of the council, has been verified or proven in court. I have never sexually harassed anyone. But the hysteria that has been created and many of you helped defeat is the hysteria of a lynch mob. Now, as I said I faced lynch mobs many times when I was younger. No evidence was needed. The mob knew who was guilty. Who needed due process? Ladies and gentlemen, democracy needs due process. San Diego needs due process. Those of you in the media and politics who fed this hysteria, I think need to look at what you helped do because you have unleashed a monster.
During his confirmation hearing in October 1991, Justice Clarence Thomas responded to sexual harassment allegations:
Reporters sneaking into my garage to examine books I read. Reporters and interest groups swarming over divorce papers looking for dirt. Unnamed people starting preposterous and damaging rumors. Calls all over the country specifically requesting dirt. This is not American; this is Kafkaesque. It has got to stop. It must stop for the benefit of future nominees and our country. Enough is enough.

This is a circus. It's a national disgrace. And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I'm concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the US Senate rather than hung from a tree.
Senator, there is one thing that I've learned over my life, and that is that I'll be back. The other thing that I've learned in the process are things that we discussed in the real confirmation hearings, and that is our rights being protected, what rights we have as citizens of this country, what Constitutional rights, what -- what is our relationship with our government. And as I sit here on matters such as privacy, matters such as procedures for charges against individuals in the criminal context or civil context, this has heightened my awareness of the importance of those protections, the importance of something that we discussed in theory -- privacy, due process, equal protection, fairness.