02 Feb Created Equal Stirs the American Soul
Americans ought to treat themselves to a viewing of Created Equal, a recently released documentary on the life of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Narrated principally in the booming, commanding voice of the man himself as he responds to an interviewer’s questions (with a few assists from his wife Ginni), the film captures Justice Thomas’s story as an inspiring monument to the rightness of American ideals when truly understood and lived.
It’s rags-to-riches in the highest and best sense: a true start in rags, but a climb to the real riches that can only come from towering greatness of character — inspired by the quintessential tough love of his grandfather, an illiterate black man of the South who had engraved on his heart the right ideas of hard work and of what it means to embrace no-excuses manhood.
Some casual followers of American politics and history will hear the name of Clarence Thomas and vaguely remember associating it with someone named Anita Hill. Millennials and other products of American college campuses in the last couple of decades will know Thomas, if at all, as an oft-ridiculed conservative Supreme Court justice who doesn’t ask a lot of questions during oral arguments. That’s at best. At worst, they’d parrot the Uncle Tom caricature that the Left has long sought to tag him with.
Justice Thomas’s life experiences as a black American come alive in this film, and they will jolt most Americans who barely know him. They put the lie to every leftist caricature of him, while also putting the lie to every attempt to equate America’s founding ideals with racism.
This is a man who has known real poverty; who has been on the receiving end of many of the ugliest forms of real racism; who once embraced radical leftism and hatred of America precisely because of poverty, racism and related injustice.
This is a man who has arrived at a rock-solid level of Christian faith that often comes by way of tortuous recovery from the life experiences that provoke a total loss of faith, and anger at God.
This is a black man who has lived out the screen character of Atticus Finch via the famous “high-tech lynching” of the Joe Biden-chaired United States Senate Judiciary Committee—and overcame it. This is a conservative man who exposed the scorched earth tactics and moral bankruptcy of the Left perhaps more vividly than ever before (until the Kavanaugh hearings): they will brazenly and shamelessly make stuff up to destroy anyone who dares threaten their sacrament of abortion or their brook-no-dissent politics of group identity and victimhood.
The documentary is strong and inspiring enough to provoke an American renewal by itself. Which is why it will be feared and panned by leftist and other ruling class critics or, more probably, just ignored in order to make sure it doesn’t gain national traction. But it ought to be required viewing for every high school senior in the country, for every black American wondering what Candace Owens’s Blexit is all about, for every one of Kanye West’s followers who wonder what’s up with Christian faith, for every liberal American curious as to whether there is a “black” view of America different from Colin Kaepernick’s, for every Nike executive who wants to learn what it really means for a black man to stand for something.
Better yet, it ought to be required viewing for every American.
There is a poetic symmetry in Thomas’ life. His path as a young man in a seminary ended, and his life then spiraled downward toward racial anger, bitterness, and rabid, burn-everything-down, leftist radicalism when a fellow student anonymously delivered a note in class that wrote on one side “I like Martin Luther King”, and on the other side, “Dead.” In seminary school. To a black classmate. In America.
But by the end of the film, with Thomas now the most senior Justice on the Supreme Court (in his 29th year), with a body of over 600 opinions applying his deeply grounded and powerfully articulated philosophy of originalism, Thomas has fulfilled the best of Martin Luther King alive: he is a black man whose achievements compel judgment of him based on the content of his character, not on the color of his skin. And that judgment is: Clarence Thomas is an American hero.
Don’t let the leftist media smother this film. Find out where you can see it, buy tickets, and go view it for yourself. It will make you proud and renew your faith that there is such a thing as the American character—and it lives today.