My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir
My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir by Clarence Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book several years ago on the bargain rack at some book store. I somewhat remember being a kid during his confirmation hearing. Mom and dad always played Rush Limbaugh in the car and I remember Rush being furious about whatever was happening to this man.

I have no doubt that if the average alliterate American would just pick up books like this, this country would fundamentally be on a different course. I also think that this book is probably one of the most important “conservative” books ever written.

I was fascinated by Thomas’ story. I had always just assumed that he was always a black conservative. I am not sure why I thought that, it had just always been my assumption.

The reason I think this book is so important is that Thomas was definitely not always a conservative. In fact, he started out in college as an angry black radical. In the book he talks about his experience in college with the Students for a Democrat Society. He self-describes himself on the far left of the political spectrum in college. It is really interesting to see Thomas’ political values evolve from a far left radical to a conservative.

Thomas is a perfect example of what happens when a person quits relying upon emotion and starts to evaluate something based upon evidence and facts. In chapter 5 he discusses having to face realities head-on. Early in his legal career he had to work on a case of a black man who had brutally raped and sodomized a black woman. Thomas states, “This case, I later learned, was far from unusual: it turned out that blacks were responsible for 80 percent of violent crimes committed against blacks…After I worked on that case, I knew better than to assume that whites were responsible for all the woes of blacks, and stopped throwing around the word “oppression” so carelessly. I also grew more wary of unsupported generalizations and conspiracy theories, both of which had become indispensable features of radical argument.”

One of the things I really grew to respect about Thomas is how he went from anger and emotion to principles. He became very willing to go against the grain. This is something I relate to very well in life. “Life, I knew, would be so much easier if I went along with whatever was popular. What were my principles really worth to me? As I gazed out my office window at the Potomac River, the answer came instinctively: They’re worth my life.”

As is the case for conservative Republicans, Thomas had to face racism and bigotry in two forms in his life. First, he experienced the overt racism of the South as he grew up. Then later in life he would experience the subtle bigoted racism that so many Democrats use against black conservatives. The story that Thomas shared from his Supreme Court confirmation about now current Vice President Joe Biden is especially instructive. Biden had originally promised to throw Thomas a couple softball questions to make him feel comfortable to get things started. Instead, he completely did the opposite of what he had promised. “Senator Biden’s smooth, insincere promises that he would treat me fairly were nothing but talk. Instead of relaxing, I’d have to keep my guard up.”

Probably the most interesting chapter of the book is called “Invitation to a Lynching.” In it, Thomas chronicles the modern lynching performed by the press and the Democrats with regards to the baseless lies that Anita Hill presented about the man. As is typical with Democrats, when incapable of presenting truth, you just make up stuff based upon stereotypes and power through the lie. It truly is a disgusted display of bigotry.

Overall, I found Clarence Thomas to be incredibly thoughtful, wise, and heroic. If only more Americans knew his story.

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