Things Named After Robert Byrd Are Instruments Of Racial Terror

And this is all thanks to Democrats. So says the Brent Staples in a NY Times op-ed

Confederate Memorials as Instruments of Racial Terror

The Confederate-flag-waving white supremacist charged with murdering nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church in June demolished the fiction that the flag was an innocuous symbol of “Southern pride.” This barbaric act made it impossible for politicians to hide from the fact that the Confederate banner has been a rallying symbol embraced by racists, night riders and white supremacy groups dating back to the 19th century.

This long-denied truth applies as well to Confederate memorials that occupy public space all over the South. Most were erected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the Southern states were eagerly dismantling the rights and liberties that African-Americans had enjoyed just after the Civil War, during Reconstruction. These states unleashed a racialized reign of terror and shored up white supremacy by rewriting their Constitutions to disqualify African-Americans from full citizenship.

Interestingly, there have been few complaints about these monuments and such over the previous decades. Most just choose to ignore them. Heck, most probably did not even notice them. Double heck, thanks to our wonderful public education system, most probably had no idea who the people were. But, hey, terrifying! Dead people as well as symbols from a movement long defeated, one which was backed and run mostly by members of the Democratic Party.

Why is there no concern over the racial overtones in the name “Democratic Party”, a political party based on systematized racism?

Not all monuments warrant that kind of challenge. But those honoring the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest deserve the backlash they have generated. Forrest presided over the 1864 massacre of Union soldiers, many of them black, at Fort Pillow in Tennessee. He was also a prominent slave trader and served as the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Apologists argue that his involvement with the Klan was unimportant because he later adopted more enlightened views. But as the Forrest biographer Jack Hurst writes, by lending his name to the K.K.K. even temporarily, the general accelerated its development. “As the Klan’s first national leader,” Mr. Hurst writes, “he became the Lost Cause’s avenging angel, galvanizing a loose collection of boyish secret social clubs into a reactionary instrument of terror still feared today.”

Interesting. Sounds rather similar to Robert Byrd, a high ranking member in and recruiter for the KKK, who voted numerous times against civil rights legislation, and made many, many racist pronouncements, eh? Is it not high time to remove his terrifying name from all the buildings that bear his name? Should his name be on several federal buildings? On roads and bridges? Does his name not cause terror to those whose ancestors bore the brunt of slavery and racial segregation? Those who suffered under the brutal hand of the KKK? No, this is not being sarcastic or hyperbolic. The man was a racist and high ranking member of the KKK, who recruited people to join the KKK. And was fully embraced by the Democratic Party. Both should be expunged. If statues and monuments to people long dead are terrifying, so should be anything linked to the Democratic Party and Robert Byrd.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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