Robert Byrd, 1917-2010


How will you remember Robert Byrd? As the man who was elected to the Senate before Barack Obama was born-back when Hawaii was barely a state that issued fake birth certificates, not long after the time when the KKK was a normal-seeming kind of social organization to which one might belong? As the man who built a thousand bridges, roads and tunnels for the people of West Virginia, a lifetime of steering money home that still didn’t do much for the state? As the loudest, most vehement opponent to the invasion of Iraq? As a pioneer of open government? As one of the last politicians we’ll ever see to have ever worked as a gas station clerk or a butcher? As a symbol that weirdly both affirms and refutes the popular (and possibly wrong!) idea that we all just have to wait for the older, bigoted generations to die off so that we can live in a better world?