Sadly my friends, at three am this morning, the world said goodbye to the longest serving senator in the history of our great nation. The Dean of the Senate since 2003 , as well as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate since 2007 . 60 years as public servant and at this age, in his condition, third in succession to fulfill the office President of the United States, West Virginia's own Robert Carlyle Byrd.
Sen. Byrd, (92), Democrat, cast his final vote on the Senate floor this past year, approving of President Obama's health care reform bill. One of over 18,000 votes, more than any other Senator in history. Senator Byrd never lost an election.
In the coming days and weeks, I'm sure the media will tout the many accomplishments in Sen. Byrd's career, all the committees he's served on and/or chaired, all the legislation he's carved out with these decades of service, all of the other leaders he has outlived. In addition, I'm also positive the dark days of Byrd's Klu Klux Klan affiliation will be discussed as well. Certainly, the Senator will be afforded a "State Funeral" in drawn out ceremonies and lie in repose until such time he's committed to the earth and buried.
Well...... Fare well Senator Byrd, and..... in eulogizing you...... All I can say is.............
If ever in my life time there has been iron clad proof in support of the implication of, TERM LIMITS !!! You are it !!!
In the early days of Senator Byrd's career, I'm sure he was pretty much like any other politician, you know, promise the the world, and take what you can get. but as his career blossomed, this man, became known as the undisputed "King of Pork Barrel Projects" in history. He literally attached, or tried to attach Ryder's on every piece of legislation placed before him, resulting in Billions and Billions of dollars, redirected to the state of West Virginia with not so much as a blush on his cheek, and when challenged regarding the matter,he would simply say, "That's my job".
I don't know how many of you have ever had occasion to drive through Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia, but I have...lots of times. You cannot drive one mile in that state without seeing something with Senator Robert C. Byrd's name on it, or something dedicated to him. Bridges, highways, interchanges, rest areas, corporate corridors, schools, ball fields, state parks landmarks, everywhere !!! Not because of the gratitude of the recipients, but because of the shear vanity of the man. If his name ain't on it... You ain't gettin' it !
Just think for a minute, how many things have come and gone during the tenure of this man.
"Klondike 7445", could have been your phone number then, and if you had a "Party Line" you'd be lucky to get on at all. You could buy a new Chevy for $1,225.00. History tells us G.C. Murphy's was the place to shop. If you had money you could buy a Zenith "color TV, but the picture still sucked. Take your home movies on 8mm film, and your still photos on the brand new state of the art, Polaroid Land Camera.
Then came the 60's ! The women burned their bras, and the men burned their draft cards. It was the age of free love, drugs, rock and roll, and Viet Nam. Yes my friends, Sen. Byrd was right there in the heart of it all. I wonder if he was ever on the Ed Sullivan Show ?
The 70's and 80's came and went in a flash, and so did the rotary phone, Beta VCR's, the good ole' LP album, eight track and cassette tapes, and the world finally realized that we absolutely could not exist without a microwave oven in every home. I don't mean to be cruel, but I seriously don't think Senator Byrd remembers the 90's at all !
Anyway, just ask yourself this question.... After the first couple of terms, how effective could he have been ? What legislation did he pen in the twilight of his life ? What relevance did he have ? How many people on his staff were paid, buy us, just to get him ready for a session that he was quite probably too incoherent to understand ? How many time did you see him sleeping on C-Span ?
I hold no disdain for the elderly, in fact I think they should be revered ! But for this and a host of many other reasons, I ask you...." How do you prefer you Senator.... Old, feeble, and washed up, or young, virile, and ambitious ?"
Senator Byrd and many others like him should have been replaced years ago. How else can we move this Country forward ? Not by living in the past. Senator Byrd has finally found his Paradise in death..... Can't we find ours sooner ?
David W. Emerick