Sunday, June 19, 2005

Robert Byrd Attempts to Rewrite History

Robert Byrd has written a book excusing himself from criticism for his membership in the Ku Klux Klan. The Washington Post promotes the book for him. Provided is the MSNBC link as it does not require an account.

A senator's shame

In the early 1940s, a politically ambitious butcher from West Virginia named Bob Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to form a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

So Byrd wasn’t just a member, he founded the chapter!

The young Klan leader went on to become one of the most powerful and enduring figures in modern Senate history.

Totally excused by his party for his affiliation with one of the most reviled organizations this country has seen.

"It has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me and has taught me in a very graphic way what one major mistake can do to one's life, career, and reputation"

Come on! This is more than one mistake. You don't found the organization and then claim youthful ignorance.

In it, Byrd says he viewed the Klan as a useful platform from which to launch his political career. He described it essentially as a fraternal group of elites -- doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and other "upstanding people" who at no time engaged in or preached violence against blacks, Jews or Catholics, who historically were targets of the Klan.

Did I just read that right? I think I did. I apologize for the lack of analysis here, but its hard to type and pull myself off of the floor at the same time.

His latest account is consistent with others he has offered over the years that tend to minimize his direct involvement with the Klan and explain it as a youthful indiscretion.

I refer back to the beginning of this post. He founded the chapter!

Byrd's indelible links to the Klan -- the "albatross around my neck," as he once described it -- shows the remarkable staying power of racial issues more than 40 years after the height of the civil rights movement. Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) learned that lesson the hard way at a birthday party in December 2002, when his nostalgic words about Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), who ran for president as a segregationist in 1948, caused a public uproar and cost Lott the majority leader's post.

And this is the rub. Despite what the Post may think, there is absolutely no comparison between what Trent Lott said and what Robert Byrd did by forming and leading a chapter of the KKK. Byrd has long gotten a pass by Democrats, who at the same time cry outrage at every possible opportunity. The example of Robert Byrd is the number one case outlining the pure political motivations of Democrats and the liberal press. Trent Lott was run out of town for a gaff he made at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party. Yet Byrd continues to play a prominent role in the Democratic Party, and even has the gall to lecture the rest of us on ethics. Democrats would be wise to limit their selective outrage until Robert Byrd is long out of politics.

Byrd said in the Dec. 11, 1945, letter… that he would never fight in the armed forces "with a Negro by my side." Byrd added that, "Rather I should die a thousand times, and see old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels."

I think I will let that speak for itself.


I knew it wasn't just me: BOBBY BYRD'S KLAN OF "UPSTANDING PEOPLE"

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