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Clarence Thomas Is Just a Regular Guy Who Loves RVs and Walmart!

Clarence Thomas Is Just a Regular Guy Who Loves RVs and Walmart!

Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas defends himself against sexual harassment allegations at his Senate confirmation hearing/Shutterstock

Two Black Tennessee representatives bravely challenge white supremacy and gun nuts, while a Supreme Court justice worships at the altar of prejudice and corruption.

On Thursday, we were given two very different lessons on decorum. The first, shockingly, involved two Black Tennessee state legislators expelled from the state House for violating so-called decorum rules.

After the Nashville school shooting last month, the two men, Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, along with a white colleague, Gloria Johnson, led a protest on the House floor about the need for stricter gun laws. The overwhelmingly Republican body made it clear that they put guns before kids, and since there was no other way to get them to listen, Jones, Pearson, and Johnson brought a bullhorn to the bully pulpit.

The trio's old, white conservative colleagues were “aghast” that the three usurped decorum rules, so they expelled only the two Black men. Johnson knew she was spared because she was white.

The second lesson comes from Supreme Court Justice (I hate this title in front of this man’s name) Clarence Thomas. For all intents and purposes, Thomas lives in a gilded, white world, that for him is without rules. In a stunning defiance of decorum, a ProPublica report disclosed that Thomas and his obnoxious wife, Ginny, were feted with free, exotic trips all around the world, paid for by one of the top donors to the Republican Party, zillionaire Harlan Crow and his wife.

Now let's stop here, for a moment, before we talk about the duplicity of Thomas. Crow, according to a resurfaced Dallas Morning News article, collects Nazi artifacts and paintings by Adolf Hitler. He even has a signed copy of Hitler's jarring manifesto, Mein Kampf. And outside in the vast garden outside of his mansion are statues of the some of the greatest dictators in history, including Vladimir Lenin, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito.

You can assume, based on this close friendship, that Thomas has marveled at the Nazi memorabilia, and gazed adoringly at the statues adorning Crow's gardens.

Back to Thomas. He did not report these trips with Crow on his financial disclosure form. And you can be sure, even if the price of each trip was up for a guess on The Price is Right, there is no way anyone would overbid on vacations that included stays aboard a mega yacht, excursions to islands, and unlimited caviar and thousand-dollar bottles of wine. Being wined and dined by a billionaire has no price.

And poor Clarence, he prefers to be poor. ProPublica only had to go back two years to find this home-spun humdinger from down-home Clarence, "I don't have any problem with going to Europe, but I prefer the United States, and I prefer seeing the regular parts of the United States," he awe-shucks said in Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words. "I prefer the RV parks. I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that. There's something normal to me about it. I come from regular stock, and I prefer that — I prefer being around that."

Gotta feel sorry for Clarence’s dilemma. Rich or poor? Neiman Marcus or Walmart? Writing this, I found myself humming to the theme song of Green Acres (for those of us old enough to remember). Perhaps in his mind, Thomas was singing from the right side of his brain, “Farm living is the life for me, land spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.” And then, belting out from his left side, he crooned, “New York is where I’d rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore the penthouse view. Darling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue.”

However, Thomas’s flippant ignorance of decorum is no joke. He and Ginny have no moral or ethical standards, just like the court. There are loose rules to follow that are a joke to Thomas; everyone else in the U.S. government would be unceremoniously fired if they were caught during the things Thomas and his wife routinely do. They get away with murder.

Tennessee does not require a permit to carry a firearm. Which means that plenty of people are getting away with murder there. The school shooter, despite having a mental illness, was still able to purchase multiple guns and rifles. If you want to carry a gun openly or concealed in public in Tennessee, you don't need a permit. You can sling that baby out whenever you want.

And that’s something that Jones and Pearson, and anyone else who has a sense of decency, disagreed with. They’ve seen enough homicides in their districts — and in America — to know that something, anything, everything needs to be done to enact common sense gun laws. Their colleagues in the Tennessee state house have no commonsense — but they do have decorum, or at least they think they do.

Jones, Pearson, and Johnson bucked decorum in a desperate attempt to get their colleagues to listen to them, with the ultimate goal of saving lives. They brought a bullhorn, and why wouldn’t they? Their bigoted white colleagues shut them out. The good ol’ boys undoubtedly think that the Jones and Pearson “boys” are disruptive thugs, and they wanted these “boys” out of their neighborhood.

They overwhelmingly evicted Jones and Pearson, and yet Johnson was allowed to stay, and you didn’t have to tell her why she’s still a member. She said it herself — she’s white and they’re Black.

When these stories popped-up on my phone via “breaking news” alerts, I was filled with anger, but sadly not surprised. Who wouldn’t be angry as seeing Thomas get away with one more thing, going unscathed because he dissed decorum in what is rapidly becoming a decorum-less Supreme Court. How can anyone possibly respect these monsters (I’m referring to Thomas, Kavanaugh, Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett) cloaked in sinister capes? And unless you are a white, male Christian conservative, how can you respect the white members of the Tennessee legislature who kicked the Black men out of their sinister cloak room?

Decorum is behavior in keeping with supposed good taste. This week we got lessons on using decorum to promote racism and bigotry and cheating decorum to suck off white privilege. Each instance was a slap at our democracy, where white legislators segregated themselves from Black men, and where a Black man flouted the rules because of his entitlement, betraying his country, and all minorities.

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.
John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.