Robert Byrd served in political office for a long time. Byrd, a Democrat, put in more than 51 years in the United States Senate representing West Virginia.
He worked his way up the leadership ladder as well. He advanced all the way up to President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader — check. Senate Minority Leader — check. Senate Majority Whip — check.
There’s an element of history behind Byrd that may make one scratch their head. Considering the uproar Congressman Steve King’s comments have caused the last week, it’s astonishing Byrd spent so much of his life in politics.
Because Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. No, no. Byrd’s racism isn’t speculative. It’s not some sort of he said/she said. It’s a fact of history.
The story goes that Byrd recruited 150 friends and associates to create a new chapter of the KKK. So he wasn’t just a member, he was a sort of founder.
White supremacist — check.
Yet he served as a Democrat for so long and worked his way into leadership, never once being asked for his resignation.
Byrd later said his membership in the KKK was the greatest mistake of his life. Though that didn’t stop him from using the n-word on TV.
“There are white ni**ers. I’ve seen a lot of white ni**ers in my time; I’m going to use that word.”
Couple that fact with the factual history of Byrd.
Compare it to Congressman King.
Makes you wonder… would King be better off had he just been a member of the KKK?
Or, would King be OK if he were just, say, a Democrat?
It worked for Byrd. And it worked for a long, long time — for a lifetime.