Teaching Gilgamesh to Thomas
Allow me to put all my cards on the table. I don’t have a law degree. I never took any college, graduate, or post-graduate classes dealing with legal matters. All my classes were related to humanities and liberal arts. Also, regarding my attitude toward social movements like addressing racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, poverty, et al., very few people in America are more concerned about working to resolve those matters.
So, why am I writing an article about Justice Clarence Thomas? Here are a couple of reasons. Thomas shares much in common with Donald the Dumb, our twice-impeached president. They have a problem with telling the truth. Both of them apply the issue of truth to others, but the issue of truth isn’t an integral part of either Thomas or Trump’s personal mindset.
Did Thomas ever read The Epic of Gilgamesh? I’m sure that Donald the Dumb doesn’t read much, and surely not about Gilgamesh. I am not certain that Thomas has read the epic. Additionally, I doubt he clearly understood it. Therefore, as the world swirls around Thomas, allow me to tell Thomas the story of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh wanted to achieve immortality. Therefore, he did the smart thing; he asked the only immortal in the world, Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim instructed him to eat a unique flowering plant, which would be an elixir that would provide him with everlasting life.
That suggestion seemed simple to Gilgamesh, and off he went to find the plant. When Gilgamesh finally found the plant, he returned home to Uruk with the plant to eat it. However, before enjoying the plant, he bathed in the Euphrates River to clean off all the accumulated dirt and dust during his journey. While bathing, a snake ate the plant. While the snake achieved immortality, Gilgamesh didn’t. Nonetheless, it was an important learning moment for Gilgamesh. He realized immortality wasn’t possible and uttered, “Forget death and seek life.” That was a conversion experience for Gilgamesh. Instead of dwelling on himself by becoming immortal, he spent his life doing good and noble things for others.
Interestingly, James Russell Lowell’s poem, The Vision of Sir Launfal, was about Sir Launfal’s quest for the Holy Grail. Launfal’s quest paralleled Gilgamesh’s effort. These are the last three verses of the poem.
The heart within him was ashes and dust;
He parted in twain his single crust,
He broke the ice on the streamlet’s brink,
And gave the leper to eat and drink;
‘T was a mouldy crust of coarse brown bread,
‘T was water out of a wooden bowl, –
Yet with fine wheaten bread was the leper fed,
And ’t was red wine he drank with his thirsty soul.
“Lo, it is I, be not afraid!
In many climes, without avail,
Thou had spent thy life for the Holy Grail;
Behold, it is here, – this cup which thou
Didst fill at the streamlet for me but now;
This crust is my body broken for thee,
This water His blood that died on the tree;
The Holy Supper is kept, indeed,
In whatso we share with another’s need, –
Not that which we give, but what we share, –
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who bestows himself with his alms feeds three, –
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.”
Launfal and Gilgamesh both experienced a transformation that changed their lives. In Gilgamesh’s case, he learned the importance of helping others. Ironically, because he was concerned for others, Gilgamesh is still remembered after 5,000 years.
Gilgamesh is the backstory. Thomas must also grasp that he will be judged whether or not he spent his life doing good and noble things for others. When can begin by asking Anita Hill, who claimed Thomas sexually harassed her in the early 90s. Trump is facing a trial in a week for raping E. Jean Carroll in the mid-90s.
Another parallel between Trump and Thomas is that listing their misdeeds is becoming increasingly difficult. As more claims surface, more additional ones soon follow.
Thomas is not only against women’s reproductive rights but also wants the Court to reconsider other issues like prohibiting same-sex marriages, contraception, and issues related to the LGBTQ community.
While Thomas dusts off past decisions of the Supreme Court, he hasn’t suggested they should rethink the Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967. The Court ruled that banning interracial marriage violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. I wonder why Thomas isn’t pushing the Court to reconsider that ruling.
Thomas met Harlan Crow sometime in the mid-90s, several years after Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court. Beyond having billions of dollars, Crow is an avid collector of many dictators and despots.
Before going any further, I have had a WWII German Luger for seven decades.
I made the Luger in metal shop class at Mt. Lebanon High School in 9th grade. I merely wanted to be upfront with my readers. And now, for the rest of this essay.
Crow has a copy of Mein Kampf signed by Hitler. His litany of other items including two paintings by Hitler, linen napkins with an embossed logo of the swastika, a collection of sheets of postage stamps with the picture of Hitler on the stamps, etc. He also has a garden containing around twenty statues of other depots of the 20th century. Crow supposedly has the Senate’s roll call vote to confirm Thomas to the Supreme Court.
This video is an example of double truth, which is my phrase similar to George Orwell’s doublethink. This video is what Thomas claims to be the truth.
The next section of this essay contains what ProPublica and other journalists claim to be the truth. Thomas and Crow have known each other for a quarter century. They and their spouses have gone on yearly luxury trips to many places, from the Adirondacks to Indonesia.
Thomas and his wife have flown on Crow’s private jet or sailed on his superyacht.
Crow bought the home of Thomas’ mother and several adjacent lots. Thomas’ mother still lives there and doesn’t pay rent or taxes to Crow.
Had Thomas read The Epic of Gilgamesh, he would have grasped Gilgamesh’s lesson for living. We would all be better off if we started by caring about others and not ourselves. This is one of my mantras. It is in giving that we get. That has changed my Weltanschauung. I am happier and more driven because Gilgamesh is one of my mentors.