Friday, September 21, 2007

SENATOR ROBERT W. BYRD: RACISM AND CYNICISM

This series on Democratic Senators who are members of what I call the "Scum of the Earth Club" will feature (today) Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, (tomorrow) Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, and (Sunday) Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Actually, the list could be almost endless, but I'll focus for now on these three individuals.

On November 20 of this year, Robert Carlyle Byrd will celebrate his 90th birthday. He's the senior Senator from West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller is the junior) and has held his office since 1959 -- the year I graduated from high school. He's the longest-serving -- and the oldest -- current member of the U.S. Congress. Unfortunately, he both looks and acts his age.

If, God forbid, President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and Speaker Pelosi were to be killed in a terrorist attack, Robert Byrd -- as President pro tempore of the Senate -- would become President of the U.S.

Byrd is the last of the old-line segregationist Democrats. However, as the years have gone on, he's modified his positions on segregation and may be seen now -- by those with short memories -- as a minor champion of civil rights. When circumstances call for a change in his position, Byrd is quick to adjust.

Most people know that, many years ago, Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. In the media, this unfortunate element of Byrd's past gets portrayed as a short relationship reflecting some youthful indiscretion. However, that was not exactly the case.

In 1942, at the age of 24, Byrd joined the KKK. Soon after, he was elected -- unanimously -- as Exalted Cyclops, or leader, of his local Klan chapter. In his autobiography, Byrd saw that "election" as the beginning of his career in politics.

A local Klan leader, a man named Joe Baskin, told Byrd the following: "You have a talent for leadership, Bob. . . . The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation."

How did Byrd react to this high praise? As he describes it, "Suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities. I was only 23 or 24, and the thought of a political career had never struck me. But strike me that night, it did."

During World War II, Byrd -- always skillful in self-protection -- didn't serve in the military. However, when he was 28, he wrote to notorious Mississippi race-baiter Theodore Bilbo his views about an integrated military: "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."

In the 1950s, Byrd began the long process of attempting -- with limited success -- to disassociate himself from the Klan. He said then that he'd been interested in the Klan from 1942 through 1943 not because of its racist views but rather "it was strongly opposed to communism."

In 1997, at age 80,he said he's advise young people with political ambitions NOT to join the Klan -- by then only a tiny element in American society. Why precisely should they avoid the KKK? Because if one didn't, "it would inhibit [his or her] operations in the political arena." Not exactly a ringing denunciation of the Klan.

Years later, at age 88, Byrd sought once again to explain his associations with America's most notorious racist organization. He said, "I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions." He added, "I know NOW I was wrong." Now? At age 88? Talk about a slow learner.

A cynic (or a realist) would describe Byrd's relationship with the Klan in these terms. When an association with the group helped his political career, he was for it. When it hurt his career, he was against it. He's a political narcissist, nothing more.

Presumably, Byrd will leave the Senate feet-first. When he runs for re-election, as he will, he'll win again in a landslide, as he always does. He'll capture something like 90% of the Black vote -- cast by people who have little knowledge of the character (or lack thereof) or history of this thoroughly odious man.

Stephen R. Maloney
Ambridge, PA

4 comments:

Christopher said...

I don't like Senator Byrd to much, but what really gets me angry is the double standard. Can you imagine if Byrd were a Republican? Jesse Jackson, would run to D.C., to start the marches the second he found out. In a Senate of 100 though Byrd is at least interesting, and makes watching C-SPAN more enjoyable.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

The amazing thing is that Byrd is sometimes seen as one of the Senate's "great orators." As my piece shows, he has a penchant for choosing exactly the wrong word. Would a Republican Senator survive oral sex in the Oval Office? Or something like Chappaquidick? I don't think so. Democrats get held to a much lower standard. I'll write about that next week.

steve

Jim Baxter said...

Carl V. "Sam" Lamb and I served side-by-side as rifle-squad leaders; Fox Company, 'Chesty' Puller's 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. He wrote a book about our experiences in the Korean conflict, 1950-1951. He included my remarks about an incident in which one of our people threatened to punch-out a fellow squad-leader-guideon who had black skin.
The page follows:

+ + +

THE LAST PARADE
by Carl V. "Sam" Lamb Page 296 (ref: 1951)

James Fletcher Baxter

"Sam" and I had a lot in common. We both resisted evil. After I
got out of the hospital, Big Jim Causey told of driving along
in his police cruiser and hitting a black man in his head
with his pistol. He thought it was funny how the guy sprawled
into the street. When he made this comment we were in a card
game. I didn't say anything, but then he said he was going to
kick the ____ out of Joe Goggins and I had heard enough.

I said, "If you're going to try that, you'll have to go through
me to get to him. I'm willing to give my life for a country
that values each individual. If that isn't true, I don't want
to fight for that country - but, it is true, so I'm not going
to let you rob me of the very good reason I may lose my life
tomorrow or next week. If you attack him, you attack me. I
may lose, but I guarantee I will make it very expensive for
you to get to him. Let me know what you decide."

He got up from our card game and said, "I'll have to think
about it."

I said, "Let me know. I'll be here."

He came back a little later and said, "You're right. I was
wrong." I thanked him for his manliness.

Joe Goggins came to me later and thanked me. He had wet eyes.

+ + +

9/22/07 JFB
Shortly after the above event, Jim Causey was called home for family
member medical problems. On his way back to the States, he passed
through a Naval medical facility. While there, he ran into my brother,
Sgt. Howard "Barney" Baxter, 5th Marines, who had just been sent
stateside for his Chosen Reservoir frost-bitten feet.

Causey told my brother what had happened and said "how much it
had changed his life." He said Joe and I had forgiven him and he
would "never go back to the old collective point of view." He was
really joyful because he was honestly able to forgive himself! He
became a more manly man - a good Marine - with honor.

I'm pleased the Rutgers women accepted Imus' apology. They, and
others, need to forgive. We all need to grow. Good examples are
always in short supply. God bless my Country and its Individuals.

semper fidelis
Jim Baxter
Sgt. USMC
WWII and Korean War

5th Grade Teacher - 30 wonderful years! '57- '87
vincit veritas

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

INDIVIDUAL VALUE - Gift of Y'shua JESUS
by James Fletcher Baxter

The Old World method of measuring human value was,
and still is, by the group. Whether tribe, clan,
city-state, color, ethnic, or gender, the Old
World, ancient and modern, measures by the plural
unit. Individuals had and have no value of them-
selves but only as they were and are part of a
collective.

When Y'shua Jesus died on the cross, the veil of
the Temple at the Holy of Holies parted from the
top down. The individual believer in the congrega-
tion had, for the first time, a face-to-face, one-
on-one relation with his Creator. The Creator,
Himself, had validated each individual for the
first time.Thus, the Individual became the corner-
stone for later human value measuring systems:
socio-political, philosophical, religious, educa-
tional, economic, etc., henceforth and forever.
Western Civilization, America, English Law, civil
Rights, the 'democratic' process, etc., all sprang
from that single event. (Greco-Roman 'democracies'
were 95% slave throughout their entire histories.)
Biblical principles are still today the foundation
under Western Civilization and the American way of
life.

Many social systems attempt to borrow ideas of
"democracy" without the basic premise in The Indi-
vidual. Such a system is only superficially and
temporarily 'democratic.' The cornerstone of the
democratic process is The Individual and the
cornerstone of the value of The Individual is
Y'shua Jesus! It is not possible to have one with-
out the other. There is only One Source - there is
no other.

It is additionally interesting to note that all
value measuring systems are based on the single
definitive unit of the system. Ex: Number, Time,
Distance, Weight, Heat, Money, Angle, Volume, etc.

Only humanism makes the abusive error of measuring
human value by the plural unit and attempts to
build social structures, relations, and institu-
tions thereon. Such man-made systems can only be
abusive and oppressive because in reality there
are only individual persons. Groups or collectives
are merely convenient verbalizations about indi-
viduals. They are not Reality.

I have yet to see a 'group.' All I have ever seen
are individuals.Have you ever seen a group - or is
it a verbal convenience? Reality is only in the
individual person. And, such a validation never
derived from a human source without the initiative
of the Creator. (The French Rationalists of the
18th Century favored the fruit - but rejected the
branch, tree, and root.)

Today, wherever Y'shua Jesus is rejected, the
group or collective is still the basic way of
measuring human value - and/or human non-value.

We thank the Lord God for revealing His validation
of each individual person. We thank Him for creat-
ing each person uniquely, in His image, and call-
ing each one to a courageous ascension by Y'shua
Jesus, who said, "I AM the Way..."

Praise the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and
His Son of Man, Y'shua Jesus.

Reference: Exodus 25:30,40 Hebrews 9 Matthew 27:51
Mark 15:38 Luke 23:45 KJV

vincit veritas
Jim Baxter



Q: ? "How many more Columbines and VA Techs
before we 'get it?' " jfb

Collectivist 'solutions' will not solve problems caused
by collectivism. Individual only.

CHOOSE MIKE HUCKABEE ! ! !

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Jim, thanks very much for your fine comments about race and the individual. I appreciate your visiting and hope you'll come again.

steve maloney