Monday, June 28, 2010

The Quality Of Mercy

Senator Robert Byrd, the longest serving Senator in US History, is dead at the age of 92. When reading about his death on the Huffington Post (I'm sure other sites were similar), the comment thread exploded with people reminding everyone that Byrd used to be a member of the KKK, and trying to use this fact to claim that Democrats and the Democratic Party have just as blemished a record on race as Republicans do.

Now, Byrd's membership in the KKK is a matter of public record. Byrd also filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, which is also a matter of public record. Both of these things are wretchedly bad, evil, wrongheaded things to have done, I think everyone can agree. (And if you don't? Stop reading right now, because I really just don't know who you are.)

Byrd has apologized for these things. Now, I really don't care a whole lot about Byrd. In fact, I think his departure from the scene may be a net plus, American government wise, because he has a reputation for getting pork projects approved.

This anti-Byrd sentiment is, in part, naked political oppositionism, and in part, just Internet-type snark.

But that being said, I wonder what the statute of limitations is on something like this. Byrd made a mistake. He lived a long time, learned from his mistake, and apologized for it. What else is he supposed to do for us? Wear a hairshirt? Flog himself?

Now he and only he knows if he is to be forgiven, ultimately, for what he did.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I apologize for making you sign in, but I'm trying to cut down on spam.