Friday, June 19, 2009
Incorrect, Foreign Plumbing
The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has generated even more vituperation than expected. It’s certainly an indication of how far the gains made by the women’s movement in the 1970’s have regressed. The mostly male talking heads of the right wing corporate media have had a field day with Judge Sotomayor, calling her dumpy, emotional, and even a racist. The Supreme Court is traditionally a white male bastion – and white males don’t take kindly to having to share their long held power. Clarence Thomas, at least, had the correct plumbing. Sonia Sotomayor has incorrect plumbing, AND she’s a Latina. That’s threatening on two levels to the insecure white males who seem to dominate the print media and airwaves.
The right wing noise machine was all primed and ready to go before President Obama named Sotomayor as his choice to replace retiring Justice David Souter. Mark Hemingway, of the National Review called Sotomayor “dumb and obnoxious.” Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton. She was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, which is the highest honor awarded by Princeton to an undergrad. Next, Sotomayor went to Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. I don’t seem to recall this line of “thought” being put forward when Samuel Alito was being confirmed. His academic background is nearly the same (Princeton, Yale) although somewhat less distinguished. He was never referred to as “dumb and obnoxious.”
Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh have all called Sotomayor a racist. This would seem to be a massive case of projection. Here are 3 guys who hate women and minorities, spewing their nonsense on behalf of the GOP. The Republican Party’s problems with attracting women, young people, and minorities are not exactly being advanced by the ravings of the party’s Three Graces. Even Michael Steele, who isn’t exactly a candidate for Mensa, figured that out.
The hysterical racist accusations against Sotomayor are all linked to a sentence plucked from a speech she gave in 2001 at the University of California, Berkley School of Law. The entire speech is five pages long, and can be found here.
I recommend reading the whole speech – it provides an entirely different perspective than the selective one that is being presented as a way to gin up some racist hysteria. The hysteria is in fine, howling form. A visit to the website of James Edwards, self-diagnosed as “America’s most controversial radio host” reveals this astounding statement: “She’s a woman, and not only is she non-white, she hates white people and uses her current post to trample our rights. No matter who gets the job it’s going to be bad news for white people.” Yep, white folks will surely be facing all sorts of discrimination at the hands of women and minorities. Pity the poor, oppressed white man - isn’t he suffering enough?
Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, blogged that Sotomayor should not expect people to pronounce her name correctly, that putting the emphasis on the last syllable of her last name was “unnatural in the English.” Mr. Krikorian is undoubtedly changing his last name to “Krik” since his last name is in need of anglicizing. No word on what he thinks of Rod Blagojevich. There is a fascination with Sotomayor and English by the far right. In addition to his other foolishness, G. Gordon Liddy described the Spanish language as speaking in “illegal alien.” A look at the far right website freerepublic.com shows a number of geniuses judging Judge Sotomayor’s looks, and calling her an “intellectual lightweight”. Once again, the double standard is alive, well, and doing pushups. These same guys didn’t say boo when John Roberts was nominated to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court with less than 2 years experience as a judge under his belt. Sotomayor’s 17 years on the bench are never mentioned. Clarence Thomas had even less experience on the bench, but no one calls him an intellectual lightweight, even though he’s never delivered a memorable decision as an associate justice, mostly just adding a “what he said” to the decisions of Scalia. The right calling Sotomayor an “affirmative action” hire is utter hypocrisy, given that Thomas was chosen for his race and his life story. To say otherwise is incredibly dishonest. To be honest – no one knows what makes a great justice. There is no formula to use to decide how a nominee will perform once confirmed. David Souter certainly defied expectations.
I don’t recall Antonin Scalia being described as “dumpy” or “unattractive” when he was a SOTUS nominee. I don’t recall anyone questioning Clarence Thomas’s judicial temperament at the time of his confirmation, despite the testimony of Anita Hill. The men who dominate political commentary would never describe another man as dumpy, or emotional, but women, of course, are judged with a different set of standards. Talk radio host (and former Nixonista) G. Gordon Liddy had this to say about Sotomayor, “Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.” Studies show men think about sex every 7 seconds. Shouldn’t we be more concerned that men are busy in fantasyland when making important decisions? Should we worry that a number of the male justices are facing potential male midlife crises? Chief Justice Roberts is 54. He may decide to chuck it all, to run off with a silicone enhanced blonde in a red sports car. Oddly enough, one never hears that sort of conjecture.
In spite of the nightly hysteria generated by Bill O’ Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the weepy Glenn Beck, only women are portrayed as being emotional. Talk radio gives lie to that tired old sexist canard. Talk radio is full of howling, emotional men. I guess it’s a good thing they aren’t menstruating. Lord knows what we’d get then.
“God gave us all a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run one at a time.” Robin Williams
This appeared in the Conway Daily Sun as an editorial on June 19, 2009
© s.bruce 2009
Posted by susanthe at 1:49 AM