The End of an Era

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 8:16 am

The old guard can be displaced by replacing its members or by death; and the US Senate has lost two of its veterans in less than a year. Now, the longest serving US Senator, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia died earlier this morning. For over fifty years, Byrd was a noted “fiery orator versed in the classics and a hard-charging power broker who steered billions of federal dollars to the state of his Depression-era upbringing.”

Byrd was not ashamed of being referenced the “King of Pork,” noting that “I lost no opportunity to promote funding for programs and projects of benefit to the people back home.” Byrd’s love for West Virginia never wavered. Over his more than fifty years, arguably Byrd’s greatest regret came in his 20s as a member of the KKK. Byrd argued against the 1964 Civil Rights legislation, famously filibustering for one night, later to change his position on civil rights.

For all intents and purposes, Byrd was an institution; an institution that exhibited change with the times; an institution that was not afraid to stand by his position or even change positions. Undoubtedly, the losses of one Ted Kennedy and now Robert Byrd marks the end of an era.


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