As we mark the passing of West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, I can't help but wonder if sometime visitor Geoffrey will feel thathis death relieves us of the burden of having to recall that he is still among those stealing oxygen from the rest of us. Try as I might, I could never find anything attributed to Helms that matches the level of evil racism this Powerline piece attributes to Byrd. So I'm surprised that as of this writing (11:34PM CST), Geoffrey has yet to post the same celebratory obituary that he joyously posted for Helms.
It's easy to rip on southern politicians of the generation of Helms, Byrd, Thurmond (I wonder what Geoffrey thought of Trent Lott's speech to Strom on his 100th birthday---he must have gotten the vapors!), as they all came up in a time when racism was just the way things were. We look down on them for their racist beliefs (those who actually had them) and lump them all together if they ever uttered the "N-word". But there are differences between Byrd and Helms (Thurmond was somewhere in the middle leaning more toward Byrd than Helms, as far as I can tell).
For some, and Geoffrey's input will help clear the air as far as he's concerned, the differences are mostly political. It was hard to find stories of Helms that didn't label him as the worst kind of racist. But despite the fact that he claimed not to be a racist, and despite the fact that he had black people on his staff, he was (and still is) vilified more because of his politics than for him actually being a racist. He never supported affirmative action, which is racist in a different direction. He didn't support making MLK JR's birthday a holiday (Oh. The. Horror!) He didn't support propping up third world countries with tax dollars. And of course he didn't support abortion or homosexual "rights", which makes him Satan.
Byrd, on the other hand, was an officer of the KKK, a recruiter and as the linked article shows, fully expressed the worst kind of racist sentiments as part of his duties in Congress. He said that his time with the Klan was "a mistake", but good gosh, what a doozy! What in Helms life ever compared to THAT? And apparently, in March of 2001, Byrd allegedly called someone a "White Ni**er" while miked. Is there a Helms anecdote like that anywhere?
Hey, I'm not saying there isn't such things about Helms, but only that I've not found anything. I've looked again before beginning this post. What I'm seeing is that there are a ton of websites and blogs listed on Google that talk about Helms being an awful racist. One needn't even click on a link; it's right there. Google "Was Jesse Helms a racist" and see what I mean.
The question is, will we see the same for Byrd? Will he get the exact same treatment in the many obits that will appear, or will that "(D)" next to his name mean he gets a pass? As this AmericanThinkerBlog post shows, he'll likely get the latter.
But at least Geoffrey will be able to rest assured that the oxygen Byrd was stealing is now available for some really deep breaths. Kinda like springtime after a gentle rain, ain't it?