Selective Outrage: Sen. Robert Byrd, Democrat KKK Leader and More
Hate is hate, dead is dead. We should stop politicizing bigotry and violence by demonizing some demographics and giving others a veritable pass.
The demonstration by white nationalist haters in Virginia last weekend resulted from the removal a statue of confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Confederate flag and statue controversies are raging throughout the South. Some view Confederate symbols as disgusting tributes to slave states defeated in the Civil War. Others warn against censoring symbols of a history we should never forget. On the margins are people who wish the South had won.
The movement to eradicate confederate symbols began with then-Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican later nominated by President Donald Trump as American Ambassador to the United Nations. Haley demanded removal of the Confederate flag from a Confederate war memorial on property of the South Carolina Capitol in 2015.
Haley’s order came after 21-year-old Dylann Roof shot and killed nine Christians at a Charleston, S.C., church. His website displayed selfies with a Confederate flag, and Haley called the flag a symbol of “a brutally offensive past.”
Hillary Clinton followed suit, saying the Confederate flag “shouldn’t fly anywhere.”
It is easy to understand why politicians on the right and left agree on banishing symbols considered hateful.
By contrast, it is hard to understand our culture’s selective outrage toward acts and symbols of hate.
As explained in this space six months ago, the name Robert C. Byrd adorns at least 55 buildings and public works projects. That includes two federal courthouses. The West Virginia Capitol features a statue of Byrd.
Byrd was an unrepentant organizer of the Ku Klux Klan, which lives on as a deadly racist hate group. Byrd recruited 150 members into a new chapter he ran as the “Exalted Cyclops” in the 1940s.
Twenty years later, Byrd filibustered the Civil Rights Act. Almost 40 years after that, Byrd told Fox News Sunday our country’s race problems are “largely behind us,” we “talk too much about race,” and then he repeatedly used the N-word on national TV.
Byrd served 57 years in Congress, through 2010. Colleagues elected him Senate majority leader. As the Senate’s president pro tempore four times, he was four times the third person in presidential succession after the vice president and Speaker of the House.
Five years before Clinton denounced the Confederate flag, she declared former Klan leader Byrd her “friend and mentor.” She never recanted. Byrd’s name remains on buildings, highways and dams.
Our colleagues at the Washington Examiner highlighted another sign of selective outrage Monday.
“The same stigma (rightly) attached to Confederate symbolism is strangely absent with regard to communist symbolism,” explained author Michael Rubin. “Communism, after all, is an ideology that has led to the deaths of almost 100 million people. While men like Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara may have become folk heroes for some on the political Left, they were in reality sociopathic mass murderers.”
We can’t imagine young Americans wearing T-shirts featuring Timothy McVeigh or David Duke, yet they sport Guevara in droves like he fronts their favorite rock band.
It is hard to forget the relative lack of proportionally appropriate outrage each time hate-filled Islamic terrorists kill domestically or abroad.
After an Islamic terrorist killed 23 adults and children in Manchester Arena in May, The Daily Caller documented how some people on social media seemed “more concerned about hurting the feelings of Muslim people.” The article published Tweets by verified Twitter users, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, expressing more concern about Islamaphobia than the injured or dead.
After an Islamic terrorist killed 49 and injured 58 at a Florida nightclub in 2016, ThinkProgress.org published a story decrying how the tragedy fueled “Islamaphobia.”
A March 14 Huffington Post article told us “Terrorism Fears Don’t Justify Islamaphobia.” True.
The article advocated fear of white American men, instead, claiming: “violent acts and plots orchestrated by far-right individuals and groups, such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists, are just as much, if not more, of a problem in the U.S.”
Only, that is, if one isolates data from short windows of time between major terror attacks conducted by Islamic radicals.
The Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh ran the numbers for the past 25 years and found terrorists have killed 3,350 people on American soil since 1992. Islamic terrorists committed 92 percent of those murders, mostly with multiple attacks on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Nationalist and/or right-wing terrorists committed 6.9 percent of domestic terror killings, mostly with one bomb outside the Oklahoma City federal building on the morning of April 19, 1995.
People killed by hate are no less dead if the bigot is white, black, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Republican or Democrat. Depoliticize violence based in hate. Condemn it all, without equivocation and demographic prejudice.
The Gazette editorial board
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