You don’t have to live that long to regret things you said or did earlier in your life and former West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd lived to be ninety-two. When he was young, Byrd was active in the Ku Klux Klan -- something that he told CNN in 1993 was his biggest mistake:
It’s easy to state what has been my biggest mistake. The greatest mistake I ever made was joining the Ku Klux Klan. And I’ve said that many times. But one cannot erase what he has done. He can only change his ways and his thoughts. That was an albatross around my neck that I will always wear. You will read it in my obituary that I was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
His later career clearly reflected this change and it did not go unnoticed. As Time noted:
When he died, the NAACP issued a statement saying his career “reflects the transformative power of this nation” as he “went from being an active member of the KKK to a being a stalwart supporter of the Civil Rights Act.”
Byrd’s significant change in attitude hasn’t mattered to some Republicans as they and their supporters continue to use Byrd’s earlier statements and actions to attack Democrats. Here’s candidate Trump retweeting in 2016:
And it’s apparent that Klan-member Byrd will be part of the upcoming presidential campaign -- especially if the Democratic candidate is Joe Biden. Here’s Sean Hannity on June 20:
One of the longest serving Democratic stars in the U.S. Senate was none other than former Klansman himself, Robert KKK Byrd. And Biden spoke at his funeral saying nice things about him. The funeral of a former Klansman.
Hat tip to Snopes.com.