This might shock you, but in their clumsy and pathetic efforts to smear Hillary Clinton as a Ku Klux Klan supporter because she considered Democratic Senator Robert Byrd a “friend and mentor,” conservatives leave out a lot of relevant information.
Clinton’s opponent in the 2016 presidential race, Donald J. Trump, is pretty much the “KKKandidate.” Not only do white supremacists hang on his every word as he promises to build a wall to keep brown people he calls “rapists” and “murderers” out of the country and to force Muslims to wear special little badges to identify them (not to mention the national Muslim registry and concentration camps), but he has been endorsed by numerous KKK members, both past and present. This, of course, includes David Duke, who is no longer a member of the Klan but is involved with white supremacist group, the NAAWP: the National Association for the Advancement of White People.
Hillary Clinton’s recent campaign ad points out these associations, showing clips of actual Klansmen praising Donald Trump – and Trump and pals are just desperate to find something — anything — with which they can distract from the very real, verifiable fact that Trump is the official Klandidate.
The very flimsy thread upon which they depend to make this case is Robert C. Byrd. Unlike Duke, who is an unabashed white supremacist, Byrd’s time with the Klan was short-lived. Ultimately, as a thinking and learning human being he dropped out of the Klan in 1952, saying:
“After about a year, I became disinterested [in the KKK], quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization.”
Byrd spent much of his 57 years in Congress repeatedly apologizing for his involvement with the Klan:
“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.”
In other words, Byrd learned from his mistakes. In fact, after he passed away, the NAACP issued a statement in 2010 honoring him:
The NAACP is saddened by the passing of United States Senator Robert Byrd. Byrd, the longest serving member of congress was first elected to the U.S. House from [West Virginia] in 1952 and was elected Senator in 1958. Byrd passed away this morning at the age of 92.
“Senator Byrd reflects the transformative power of this nation,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Senator Byrd went from being an active member of the KKK to a 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 Byrd came to consistently support the NAACP civil rights agenda, doing well on the NAACP Annual Civil Rights Report Card. He stood with us on many issues of crucial importance to our members from the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, the historic health care legislation of 2010 and his support for the Hate Crimes Prevention legislation,” stated Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. “Senator Byrd was a master of the Senate Rules, and helped strategize passage of legislation that helped millions of Americans. He will be sorely missed.”
You don’t exactly see the NAACP praising Duke or Trump, do you?
Nevertheless, Republicans have been accusing the media of “ignoring” this association between Clinton and Byrd, circulating a photo of this man the NAACP points to as an example of the “transformative power” of the United States, the ability for people with rather abhorrent prejudices to change their viewpoints, kissing Clinton on the cheek:
And, of course, there’s her praise of Byrd after his passing:
Robert Byrd was not a perfect man, but he was always eager to learn from and make up for his mistakes. He spent most of his career tirelessly working to atone for the hate that once consumed him. To those who are not complete idiots, the story of Robert Byrd is one of healing, one of redemption, and certainly not a can of worms Republicans would want to open if they, like Byrd, were thinking individuals capable of change.
Unfortunately, they are not. It’s not the 1940s anymore. How many times must they be reminded of this?
Featured image via Facebook