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Celebrating Racists

“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.”

From a letter by Robert Byrd to Mississippi United States Senator Theodore Bilbo, December 11, 1945

 

 

 

One amusing aspect of the current flap over Confederate statuary is the omission of the memorials to the late Senator Robert Byrd (D.WV).  Go here to read a list of institutions named after him in his native West Virginia.  A former Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, Byrd was the longest serving member of Congress when he died in 2010, having been a member of the House and Senate for almost 58 years.  A fierce proponent of segregation when first elected to Congress, his position moderated over time as he amended his beliefs to fit changing political realities within the nation and his Democrat Party.  Nicknamed the Prince of Pork, he succeeded, due to his seniority in the Senate, in getting endless Federal pork for his state.  Since it seems to be an article of faith on the left that memorials to racists must be expunged from the public square, and that arguments that the racists changed are to be rejected out of hand, the omission of Byrd’s tax supported memorials to himself from targeting by the left is curious, until one recalls that the latest hoorah over such monuments has nothing to do with race and everything to do with contemporary political battles, and that highlighting the sins of a contemporary Democrat like Byrd, who was hailed during his lifetime by many liberal Democrats still active in politics, would be politically inconvenient for the puppet masters who pull the strings of the leftist groups who seem to be outraged by racists dead for over a century, but seem quite willing to tolerate recent racists so long as they were members in good standing of the contemporary Democrat power structure.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

10 Comments

  1. It’s simple: a racist is not a racist if he is a leftist. Evil is no longer defined by that which is always and everywhere good or bad, but had now been squeezed through the left’s selective ideological filter.

  2. Re Byrd: nearly his entire adult life was given over to seeking and retaining elective office. He won his first office at age 29 and held office until his death at age 92. He earned a law degree in his middle 30s, but never practiced. He had desultory wage jobs prior to 1946. If I’m not mistaken, he was not in the military during the 2d World War, something fairly atypical for someone of the 1917 cohort.

    His Klan organizing was a bizarre excursion, rather like organizing War Bond rallies in Los Angeles in 1963. The 2d incarnation of the Klan was absolutely passe at the time, having gone from a 7-digit membership in 1922 to a 5-digit membership a dozen years later. (It formally dissolved in 1944). He was trying to build klaverns in West Virginia, a state with a small black population (3.5% of the total, or about 70,000 people) among upland Southerners (who were the segment of Southern society the least concerned with racial questions). A number of Democratic pols said when he died that his klan membership was necessary to get elected; they’re either lying or hopeless. It was never necessary anywhere bar for a brief span of years in the 1920s. Byrd’s predecessor was not an antagonist of the blacks. Neither was Jennings Randolph, who served alongside him. I do not think any other post-war member of Congress from W. Va. was hostile to blacks.

    Now, what are all those statues and building dedications indicative of? One, the use of public funds to advance his electoral fortunes and (2) ego. Conscience owes it to taste not to feed the latter and the public interest is ill-served by the former. There is nothing more to be said about him. Bob Dole was close to a pure career politician, but with him you could talk about his military service. Tributes to Byrd are parody tributes, and are properly removed to avoid Gresham’s law.

  3. When Senator Byrd died, both Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton delivered
    eulogies at the man’s funeral. In both eulogies, the men alluded to Byrd’s ties
    to the klan, describing it as something he’d come to regret, something he’d
    spent the rest of his life trying to make amends:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/president-obama-eulogizes-late-sen-robert-byrd-statesman-ku-klux-klan-member-article-1.464737

    If that is truly how Presidents Obama and Clinton feel about the issue, then
    why do they not speak out now, urging Americans on the left to extend a
    similar compassion and understanding to men like Robert E. Lee? Perhaps it’s
    because compassion for Byrd was politically expedient, but showing the same
    understanding towards others is not. Neither man will bestir themselves to
    urge antifa and the more violent fringe of their party to calm down, as long
    as that violence is politically useful.

  4. Re: the Klan….The Klan was active when my late grandmother was a young girl in the 1920s and as a young adult in the 1930s in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Greene Cpounty is the extreme southwest corner of Pennsylvania, surrounded on two sides by West Virginia and closer to Morgantown than Pittsburgh. The Klan marched through the streets of little Greene County towns. My grandma remembered the terror her family felt when they saw them. Greene County has almost no blacks, then or now. They were marching against the Catholic immigrants from Europe. The Klan lost steam there like it did everywhere else. Byrd was an ingrate. The flow of pork into West Virginia kept him in office and the media would never bring up his past in the Klan. They won’t do it now, either.

  5. Good points all, but the Leftists reply that Byrd apologized for his past and was honored by the NAACP. That’s their story. I suggested to a Byrd apologist a deal. Let’s leave all the road, building, and bridges named for Byrd, and his statues alone and in exchange the Left leaves Lee (and most other vanquished confederates) alone since, after all, they were pardoned and most came to Lee’s view that after all the outcome of the war was for the better.

  6. So you all would be totally okay with a memorial to the 9/11 hijackers somewhere, eh? Because that’s what the Confederate monuments were; monuments to traitors precisely because they were traitors. The monuments were built in the very late 19th and early 20th C to celebrate the re-enslavement of black people under the Jim Crow laws. White people needed to remind ourselves that even the most horrible POS white man was better than the most accomplished African American. Note that the monuments show mostly men in Confederate military uniforms. If they exist just to show how nice these guys were or their graciousness in defeat, why not portray them in civilian clothing?

    If you’re going to rag on Byrd, who changed his mind at least, you should include Strom Thurmond who ran for President on the Dixiecrat ticket and actually accumulated some Electoral College votes from South Carolina. Thurmond never moderated his horrible racial attitudes and yet the Republican Party welcomed him with open arms and proceed to re-elect him to the Senate for decades. The Democrats, for all our flaws, purged the racists unless, like Byrd, they changed their minds. The Republicans welcomed all the purged Dems to your party with open and affectionate arms.

  7. Amazing Kit, you get everything wrong in your comment. I only have time to address this one:

    “The Democrats, for all our flaws, purged the racists unless, like Byrd, they changed their minds. The Republicans welcomed all the purged Dems to your party with open and affectionate arms.”

    Actually, virtually all the segregationist politicians of the 60s in the South lived and died Democrats and never switched parties. Thurmond, the only segregationist Senator to switch parties, made precisely the same transition on racial issues that Byrd did. Every piece of Civil Rights legislation in the 60s had far greater Republican support than Democrat support, as a percentage of each party, in Congress. Your party has always been the party of racists, only the preferred shade of skin color has changed.

  8. So you all would be totally okay with a memorial to the 9/11 hijackers somewhere, eh? Because that’s what the Confederate monuments were;
    ==
    They weren’t.
    ==

    monuments to traitors precisely because they were traitors.
    ==
    Confederate officers were insurrectionists, not traitors. Never at any time in this Republic has treason been defined as anything but aid to hostile foreign powers. You’re using a Tudor definition of treason. As for the 9/11 hijackers, they were foreign criminals in the country illegally, not traitors.
    ==
    The monuments were built in the very late 19th and early 20th C to celebrate the re-enslavement of black people under the Jim Crow laws.
    ==
    Blacks were not ‘re-enslaved’ even in a metaphorical sense. It is true they were subject to caste regulations, kicked off the voter rolls, and treated badly by law enforcement and the courts. That is not slavery, and they had every opportunity to migrate northward if the Southern regime overtaxed their patience.
    ==
    White people needed to remind ourselves that even the most horrible POS white man was better than the most accomplished African American.

    A monument to Stonewall Jackson is a tribute to Jackson. Anything else you attribute to it is your imagination at work.
    ==
    Note that the monuments show mostly men in Confederate military uniforms. If they exist just to show how nice these guys were or their graciousness in defeat, why not portray them in civilian clothing?
    ==
    They’re war memorials, and there is dignity in a uniform. This isn’t that difficult.
    ==
    If you’re going to rag on Byrd, who changed his mind at least, you should include Strom Thurmond who ran for President on the Dixiecrat ticket and actually accumulated some Electoral College votes from South Carolina. Thurmond never moderated his horrible racial attitudes and yet the Republican Party welcomed him with open arms and proceed to re-elect him to the Senate for decades.
    ==
    I realize contemporary history is difficult for partisan Democrats to study and digest. Thurmond was not a promoter of negro disfranchisement or the re-institution of caste regulations after 1965. As for his ‘horrible racial attitudes’, have you checked with his mulatto daughter?
    ==
    The Democrats, for all our flaws, purged the racists unless, like Byrd, they changed their minds. The Republicans welcomed all the purged Dems to your party with open and affectionate arms.
    ==
    It is not that long ago, but partisan Democrats cannot stop promoting easily refutable fictions. Run down the list of Democratic senators who cast ballots contra the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and identify the party switchers: on the No list would be Harry Byrd Sr., Willis Robertson, Sam Ervin, Everett Jordan, Albert Gore Sr, Herbert Walters, William Fulbright, John McClellan, Olin Johnston, Herman Talmadge, Richard Russell, Lister Hill, John Sparkman, James Eastland, John Stennis, Allan Ellender, Russell Long, Spessard Holland, George Smathers, and Robert Byrd. On the Yes list would be Thurmond. Most of these characters were still in Congress in 1972 and one was still there in 2010.

  9. Let’s not forget Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, also a Klan member who converted to standard liberalism when it became expedient. Shows they can’t even be loyal to bad principles.

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