Sunday, June 19

Take me to your leader!

Is this your political leadership? Democrats should take note.
In the early 1940s, a politically ambitious butcher from West Virginia
named Bob Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to form a chapter of
the Ku Klux Klan. After Byrd had collected the $10 joining fee and $3 charge for
a robe and hood from every applicant, the "Grand Dragon" for the mid-Atlantic
states came down to tiny Crab Orchard, W.Va., to officially organize the
chapter.

As Byrd recalls now, the Klan official, Joel L. Baskin of Arlington,
Va., was so impressed with the young Byrd's organizational skills that he urged
him to go into politics. "The country needs young men like you in the leadership
of the nation," Baskin said.

The young Klan leader went on to become one of the most powerful and
enduring figures in modern Senate history. Throughout a half-century on Capitol
Hill, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) has twice held the premier leadership post
in the Senate, helped win ratification of the Panama Canal treaty, squeezed
billions from federal coffers to aid his home state, and won praise from
liberals for his opposition to the war in Iraq and his defense of minority party
rights in the Senate.

Despite his many achievements, however, the venerated Byrd has never
been able to fully erase the stain of his association with one of the most
reviled hate groups in the nation's history.

It is unconscionable that a minority would stand in association with this sort of man. In "Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields", Byrd writes of his past, but,

...The account is not complete. He does not acknowledge the full length of time
he spent as a Klan organizer and advocate. Nor does he make any mention of a
particularly incendiary letter he wrote in 1945 complaining about efforts to
integrate the military.
If only more voters would pay attention at the choices the political leadership makes. It is time that our politicians are held accountable, if they intend to be public figures making decisions that will affect our lives, and that of our men and women in the military.