28 June 2010

RIP: Senator Robert Byrd

In all the (rightful) celebrations today of the life of Senator Robert Byrd, consider the following:
  • He held the title of Kleagle in the KKK.
  • Despite claiming later in life that he had he joined the Klan because he felt it offered excitement and was considered anti-communist, in 1944, Byrd wrote to his segregationist Senator Theodore Bilbo: "I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... 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, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds." I guess that is the excitement that Byrd was seeking?!
  • He personally filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (for 14 hours!) and opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  • Since when did longevity in political office become something to celebrate? By my best count, Byrd may have held an actual (non-political) for no more than about eight years, and served in public office for over 57 years. This compares to Senator Edward Kennedy, who served in the Army for two years and held public office for nearly 47 years.
Source: Wikipedia
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