For a fitting tribute to the now departed Senator Robert “Sheets” Byrd, late of West Virginia, a cite Michelle Malkin 2001 article in Capitalism magazine, via Ed Dristoll, Pajamas Media :
The ex-Klansman’s admirers praise his historical knowledge, mastery of procedural rules, and outspokenness. They refer to the Senate’s senior Democrat as the “conscience of the Senate.” They downplay his white-sheet-wearing days as a “brief mistake” â€” as if joining the Klan were like knocking over a glass of water. Oopsy.
This ex-Klansman wasn’t just a passive member of the nation’s most notorious hate group. According to news accounts and biographical information, Sen. Byrd was a “Kleagle” â€” an official recruiter who signed up members for $10 a head. He said he joined because it “offered excitement” and because the Klan was an “effective force” in “promoting traditional American values.” Nothing like the thrill of gathering ’round a midnight bonfire, roasting s’mores, tying nooses, and promoting white supremacy with a bunch of your hooded friends.
The ex-Klansman allegedly ended his ties with the group in 1943. He may have stopped paying dues, but he continued to pay homage to the KKK. Republicans in West Virginia discovered a letter Sen. Byrd had written to the Imperial Wizard of the KKK three years after he says he abandoned the group. He wrote: “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia” and “in every state in the Union.”
The ex-Klansman later filibustered the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act â€” supported by a majority of those “mean-spirited” Republicans â€” for more than 14 hours. He also opposed the nominations of the Supreme Court’s two black justices, liberal Thurgood Marshall and conservative Clarence Thomas. In fact, the ex-Klansman had the gall to accuse Justice Thomas of “injecting racism” into the Senate hearings. Meanwhile, author Graham Smith recently discovered another letter Sen. Byrd wrote after he quit the KKK, this time attacking desegregation of the armed forces.
The ex-Klansman vowed never to fight “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.”
If this ex-Klansman were a conservative Republican, he would never hear the end of his sordid past. “Ex-Klansman who opposed civil rights and black justices” would appear in every reference to Sen. Byrd. And even the “ex-” would be in doubt. Maxine Waters and Ralph Neas and Julianne Malveaux and Al Sharpton and all the other left-wing bloodhounds who sniff racism in every crevice of American life would be barking up a storm over Sen. Byrd’s latest fulminations. Instead, the attack dogs are busy decrying latent racial bigotry where it doesn’t exist, while the real thing roams wild and free in their own political backyard.
It is the truth and somebody has to write it.