Yesterday, the media was pushing hagiographic narratives about the redemptive story of Robert Byrd’s past on race relations. The moral of the story is that you can always make up for being a racist son-of-a-bitch. But the real subtext of the story is: being a Democrat means that you can promote segregation, join the KKK, vote against both black Supreme Court nominees, and use the word “nigger” on national television — and still be remembered as a promoter of black interests.
Robert Byrd’s KKK membership is dismissed by his worshipers as youthful indiscretion. It wasn’t. It was the beginning of a long and sordid history filled with hatred and bias.
Highlights of Robert Byrd’s history of race relations include:
– 1942: Joins the KKK; eventually rises to the rank of “Exalted Cyclops.”
– 1945: Writes “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.”
– 1947: Says in a letter that the Klan is needed “like never before” and declares that he is “anxious to see its rebirth.”
– 1964: Attempts to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It wasn’t out of principled libertarian support for property rights. Cites a racist study claiming that black people’s brains are statistically smaller than white people’s.
– 1967: Votes against Thurgood Marshall’s Supreme Court nomination. Went to J. Edgar Hoover to see if Marshall had any Communist ties that could ruin his nomination.
– 1968: Tells the FBI that it’s time that Martin Luther King, Jr., “met his Waterloo.” FBI ignores him.
– 1991: Votes Against Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court nomination. Becomes the only senator in the body to have voted against both black Supreme Court nominees.
– 2001: Refers to what he called “white niggers” on national television. Try to imagine, say, Haley Barbour being given a pass after calling someone a “white nigger.”
We’re told that he recanted his views. Great. So did Strom Thurmond. But those words — just words — rightly got him nowhere. If Robert Byrd’s grandson runs for Congress and is defeated by a black candidate — as happened to Thurmond’s grandon in South Carolina last week in a Republican primary — will the media breathlessly report it as the end of a racist era in the Democratic Party’s sordid history, as they did of Tim Scott’s overwhelming victory?
Do I need to draw you a picture? The metanarrative must be preserved at all costs: Republicans, racist; Democrats, good. That’s all you need to know about the media’s thoughts on race relations in America. The final relic of federally-approved segregation left us. That’s the real story: it’s the end of an era. What brave news outlet will report that?