Monday, June 28, 2010

Sen. Byrd died

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) died early this morning. He was probably best known for being a former member of the KKK and defending big steel and other special interests.

The man had a way with words. In a letter (quoted on Wikipedia) to Sen. Bilbo in 1944 he wrote:

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.

But the thing is, Robert Byrd used his elegance to describe all races. In 2005 he pointed out to Fox News that " . . . there are white niggers" too. (See video.)

Joking aside, Byrd does have a point. Isn't it true that the lastseveralflaps over race were the product of someone getting indignant?

Before Barack Obama was president he wrote a book called The Audacity of Hope. One of the chapters concludes with the new Sen. Obama asking with the elder statesmen for advice:

I told him how remarkable it was that he had found the time to write [four long volumes on the history of the senate].

"Oh, I have been very fortunate," he said, nodding to himself. "Much to be thankful for. There's not much I wouldn't do over." Suddenly he paused and looked squarely into my eyes. "I only have one regret, you know. The foolishness of youth . . ."

We sat there for a moment, considering the gap of years and experience between us.

"We all have regrets, Senator," I said finally. "We just ask that in the end, God's grace shines upon us."

He studied my face for a moment, then nodded with the slightest of smiles . . . "God's grace. Yes, indeed."

I guess he had a good life.

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