Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Klansman with a Conscience

"The Klan is needed today as never before."
Senator Robert Byrd in 1946

"I should rather die a thousand times and see old glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen of the wilds."
Senator Robert Byrd, late 1940s, on the impendind desegregation of the U.S. military

"There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word."
Senator Robert Byrd in 2001

"Indeed, we may have sparked a new international arms race as countries move ahead to develop WMD as a last ditch attempt to ward off a possible preemptive strike from a newly belligerent U.S. which claims the right to hit where it wants. In fact, there is little to constrain this President. Congress, in what will go down in history as its most unfortunate act, handed away its power to declare war for the foreseeable future and empowered this President to wage war at will."
Senator Robert Byrd in 2003

Yesterday the Senate voted to approve President Bush's request for $87 billion in aid for the Iraq war effort. In true cowardly fashion only six Senators were present and the vote was by voice only. There will be no record of how Senators voted.

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia has been the most eloquent voice in American politics against the war in Iraq. His voice was the only one to shout "Nay" when the vote was taken. He is also the only member of the Senate, as far as we know, who once belonged to the KKK. He calls his Klan membership a "youthful mistake" although he was a less than youthful 29 when he uttered the 1946 quote. Byrd filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 14 hours straight. He voted against the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court.

Where were the liberals on the Iraq debate? My Senators, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, are allegedly liberal. Both voted in favor of the war with Iraq. The most they can do now is talk about the President's bad planning and say that we must support the troops and we can't cut and run and we must stand firm and the terrorists can't win and blah, blah, and blah.

Robert Byrd is no smarter than Clinton or Schumer. They knew what he knew, that this war was a sham perpetrated on the American people. But they supported it anyway because they were afraid. They were afraid to be called soft on terror. They and other democrats were afraid to face the public after an American military victory. They were afraid to to say that the President and his staff were all liars.

They knew that Iraq would erupt in righteous anger over American occupation. They knew that jihadists from around the world would converge on Iraq to kill American soldiers. They knew that the embargo of the last ten years had rendered Saddam Hussein's weapons capability useless and that he was no danger to us. But they still voted yes.

The democratic party is a sham. The most outspoken voice against the madness of militarism is an 86 year-old Dixiecrat racist. Ivy League educated liberals stick their fingers into the wind to decide how to cast their votes. Their cynicism is going to destroy our nation. I have always felt that war in Iraq would damage our country terribly. It may spark a wider war, or terror attacks beyond the scale of 9/11. Byrd said the following in a speech on May 21st.

Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it. Distortion only serves to derail it for a time. No matter to what lengths we humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the cracks, eventually.

But the danger is that at some point it may no longer matter. The danger is that damage is done before the truth is widely realized.

If the democrats continue to cower in fear when they should stand in fight then Byrd will be proven correct. The damage to our nation will be dreadful before anything is done to stop the mad men and women who have put us in this awful situation.

Debtors Prison

The term debtors prison conjures up images of Charles Dickens' novels set in Victorian England. Apparently debtors prison is alive and well in America for those uninsured who can't pay their hospital bills. The Wall Street Journal, a notoriously left wing publication, tells the story of hospitals, including Yale University, that have debtors arrested if they don't show up for court hearings. The process is known as "Body Attachment." The term sounds like either a medical procedure or the title of a bad horror movie.

It is appalling to me that hospitals of all places can be so callous. If they are concerned about the uninsured why don't they lobby for change in our health care system instead of rounding up people who are sick and poor. Unfortunately, the failure of health care reform in the Clinton administration has frightened every other presidential hopeful from taking on the issue.

The lack of compassion in American society is growing and becoming uglier by the day. I would hope that legislators in the states where this practice takes place would pass regulations making body attachment illegal. But I won't hold my breath. The hospitals lobbyists will appear at state capitals as if by magic, and not to discuss reform. Those of us who have health insurance can only pray we don't lose it and those without can only pray they don't get sick. We certainly can't depend on our political leaders for help.