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louis c

(8,652 posts)
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 08:09 AM Aug 2016

NAACP Explains Robert Byrd's Transformation

A sickening response from many bigots is that "Hillary is a bigot, too". Donald Trump and many other racists like him, point to Hillary Clinton's embrace of Robert Byrd, who once was an organizer for the KKK. I like to point out that Byrd renounced that allegiance 40 years before his death and voted in the Senate as a progressive on race issues. he apologized "a thousand times, and will continue to apologize" for his involvement in that organization. He rejected, apologized and spent a life time atoning. That position is what Hillary and the Democratic Party embraced, certainly not his misspent youth in that hateful group. I like to use Pope Benedict as an example. Benedict was a Nazi soldier in 1945. that certainly didn't define him. When people change and spend their lives contrary to the cause that one got involved 80 years before their death, in Byrd's case, we take them at their word and judge them by their actions.

Here's what the NAACP says on the subject:

<snip>“Senator Byrd reflects the transformative power of this nation,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous was quoted at the time of his death in June 2010. “Senator Byrd went from being an active member of the KKK to being a stalwart supporter of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and many other pieces of seminal legislation that advanced the civil rights and liberties of our country.”

Senator Robert Byrd, by all accounts, had shifted away from the group after becoming “disinterested” in 1952 and had completely rejected the Ku Klux Klan by the time of his death, on several occasions, as reported by Snopes.

“I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times… and I don’t mind apologizing over and over again. I can’t erase what happened.”<snip>


25 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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NAACP Explains Robert Byrd's Transformation (Original Post) louis c Aug 2016 OP
Isn't Redemption a big part safeinOhio Aug 2016 #1
Playing it up for the rubes is important...kind of. graegoyle Aug 2016 #3
Rightwingers and many republicans fear the idea that people can change. forgotmylogin Aug 2016 #17
EXCELLENT reply. nolabear Aug 2016 #22
Byrd should be slammed for what was real. Not this imaginary "support for the Klan." Archae Aug 2016 #2
Love matters; keeping my third eye open read profile GummyBearsRYummy Oct 2020 #25
Byrd is ok in my book. 90-percent Aug 2016 #4
I loved Senator Byrd; he babylonsister Aug 2016 #5
Man, who's chopping onions? lillypaddle Aug 2016 #6
I know, me, too. nt babylonsister Aug 2016 #8
thanks for this. mopinko Aug 2016 #11
"I weep for my country" Martin Eden Aug 2016 #18
Amen, Babsis. He achieved greatness. Hekate Aug 2016 #19
I don't think tRump has ever apologized ... for anything. . . nt Bernardo de La Paz Aug 2016 #7
Trump has never apologized for stirring up fear and racial animus in 1989 ... napkinz Aug 2016 #9
The GOP is tRump and they are filth SHRED Aug 2016 #10
Isn't it strange? gratuitous Aug 2016 #12
Get a pass from who? loyalsister Aug 2016 #24
Although it's almost impossible to do, Byrd all but made up for his racism early in his life... George II Aug 2016 #13
"Misspent youth"? He was 24 when he joined the Klan and recruited 150 people into it. Nye Bevan Aug 2016 #14
Is 27 too old to turn one's life around? Unit 001 Aug 2016 #15
No. But I wouldn't describe a 27-year old as being a "youth". (nt) Nye Bevan Aug 2016 #16
Byrd redeemed himself, long before he was middle aged. He was still young. Hekate Aug 2016 #20
I'm 63 Years old. 24 and 27 is youth louis c Aug 2016 #21
He did redeem himself on race dsc Aug 2016 #23


(532 posts)
3. Playing it up for the rubes is important...kind of.
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 08:30 AM
Aug 2016

Actual redemption? Not that important for "Republicans".


(7,457 posts)
17. Rightwingers and many republicans fear the idea that people can change.
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 10:40 AM
Aug 2016

It interferes with their easy assumptions that everything is either black or white, one is "with us or against us", and "things have always been this way and always will be".

It's why "flip-flop" was made a pejorative—the progressive concept that a person can hold one opinion and then another after learning more about an evolving situation makes them crazy because it undermines the religious concept of "unshakeable belief". (Which it actually does not; learning from mistakes is one of the tenets most religious parables teach. They often eagerly conflate "faith" with "personal opinion" because they like to have faith. Lots of it.)

Also, thinking is hard and revisiting a situation objectively takes time. They'd rather go with what they know, which was learned from their parents, which has always been "the way it was, the way it is". Shades of gray are too complicated to explain to their children.

They'd much rather shoot first and believe there was no good that could have been done because that lets them sleep at night.


(41,837 posts)
22. EXCELLENT reply.
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 11:48 AM
Aug 2016

This is one of the most important and least acknowledged things about politics and philosophy.


(46,197 posts)
2. Byrd should be slammed for what was real. Not this imaginary "support for the Klan."
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 08:27 AM
Aug 2016

By real I mean his habit of grabbing so much highway pork for West Virginia, at one point WV was getting half the highway funding, the rest of the country got the other half.

Byrd's father didn't help matters either, with his tantrum over desegregating schools.

And there was the time several years before he died, when he used the term for "white n*****."

I can't even remember now what it actually was.

Byrd did renounce the Klan.

Trump supporter David Duke still embraces it.

25. Love matters; keeping my third eye open read profile
Thu Oct 8, 2020, 10:48 PM
Oct 2020

I dislike racism and any dehumanization or removal of the importance of the individual. I do not like group-think or those who seek to control or oppress to further their own means.

Consider that DD knows the vast majority of people don't like him because of what he stands for. Consider that he understands endorsing someone does them damage because of this. Then consider if it's possible he has ulterior motives. Trump has said on camera that he denounces DD. R Spencer also says he supports him (& is aware the majority of people who know of him strongly dislike him), & he wants "national socialism" in addition to racial division. That is the opposite of what Trump's economics are. The fact that people think Trump is racist increases racial division by pitting half the country against the other half (one half accuses, the other half accuses back) and increases the chances for socialism & racial division; which is what their goals are.

Think about it like this, the entire premise of this thread is to defend a man who has a racist past by saying he is capable of change; therefore his association or endorsement by certain people shouldn't tarnish their names. Perhaps this is true, there is no way to know what was truly in the man's heart. When he filibustered the Civil Rights act for 14 hours straight (the longest ever from what i have read); that was over a decade after he became "disinterested" in the KKK. However he lived many decades after that and could very well have changed. Young people tend to make mistakes & get carried away easily. This is one reason forgiveness is important.

This same standard needs to be applied to everyone; if you accept that one person can change, then you shouldn't hold the past of someone you don't like against them if they demonstrate change; or dismiss it by saying they aren't genuine (because you don't like them).

It is my belief from all my observations; most Americans detest racism. There are some individuals who are racist; but they are few & far between. I am using the classical definition for racism here, hating or thinking lesser of some1 because of their race.

the modern interpretation dilutes it's gravitas by equating it to stereotyping. I'm not saying stereotyping is good, i think anything that causes people to stop looking at each other as individuals has potential to cause harm.

my 2 cents


(6,813 posts)
4. Byrd is ok in my book.
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 08:57 AM
Aug 2016

He renounced his kkk involvement before i was born, and I'm 62. He stood almost alone on the Senate floor renouncing and questioning the impending 2003 GWB Iraq invasion. That took tremendous honor and character during that rush to war the entire ESTABLISHMENT was pushing for. He took a courageous stand against "the big lie" campaign of our entire MSM.

-90% jimmy


(170,860 posts)
5. I loved Senator Byrd; he
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 09:15 AM
Aug 2016

surely redeemed himself in my book.

The Iraq Invasion Archive-Robert Byrd-I weep for my country


Senator Byrd Moved to Tears Over Kennedy

Martin Eden

(12,763 posts)
18. "I weep for my country"
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 10:47 AM
Aug 2016

Robert Byrd became an American hero when he delivered that speech on the Senate floor. I remember at the time I too wept for my country and for my Democratic Party, which had far too few heroes standing up against this war of choice before it started.

Thank you for posting Senator Byrd's speeches.


(17,199 posts)
9. Trump has never apologized for stirring up fear and racial animus in 1989 ...
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 09:33 AM
Aug 2016

He's never apologized TO the Central Park Five. He has no regrets. He called them thugs just a couple of years ago.


(82,849 posts)
12. Isn't it strange?
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 10:08 AM
Aug 2016

The late Robert Byrd has to continue to renounce his ties to the Klan 60 years ago, and Democrats continually have to account for that. But Republicans get a pass on Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, Louie Gohmert, Blake Farenthold, David Duke, and a host of others too numerous to count for actions and antics far more recent than 1952.


(13,390 posts)
24. Get a pass from who?
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 12:07 PM
Aug 2016

Certainly not me and Democrats I know. If the GOP has standards that low, that's their own problem.

George II

(67,782 posts)
13. Although it's almost impossible to do, Byrd all but made up for his racism early in his life...
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 10:10 AM
Aug 2016

....through the decades of actions that followed his "transformation". He became a bastion for civil rights and equality in his last 30+ years.

Those claiming that Clinton is a "bigot" because of her association with Robert Byrd should only look at his actions in the Senate.

Nye Bevan

(25,406 posts)
14. "Misspent youth"? He was 24 when he joined the Klan and recruited 150 people into it.
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 10:11 AM
Aug 2016

And he was 27 when he wrote these words:

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.


louis c

(8,652 posts)
21. I'm 63 Years old. 24 and 27 is youth
Sun Aug 28, 2016, 11:45 AM
Aug 2016

Byrd spent many more years atoning for his admitted bigotry than he spent actually being a bigot.

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