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Senator Robert Byrd has a book coming out today which, in part, confronts his “youthful indescretion” as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Surprisingly Byrd’s involvement with the Klan had nothing to do with hating blacks or Jews or anybody else:
The 770-page book is the latest in a long series of attempts by the 87-year-old Democratic patriarch to try to explain an event early in his life that threatens to define him nearly as much as his achievements in the Senate. In it, Byrd says he viewed the Klan as a useful platform from which to launch his political career. He described it essentially as a fraternal group of elites — doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and other “upstanding people” who at no time engaged in or preached violence against blacks, Jews or Catholics, who historically were targets of the Klan.
So it’s settled then. The Klan was merely a “networking” opportunity for Byrd. Then, after he used his connections there as a stepping-stone to greater things, he could afford to attempt to disconnect himself from the only reason the Klan exists, and the real reason Byrd was a member.
Byrd makes it sound as if he belonged to the “Mickey Mouse Club” wing of the Klan. I’m glad he finally straightened this out.