Folks have already asked about our response to the possible removal of the statue of Virginia Gov. Harry F. Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square. First of all, Mr. Byrd, who essentially began his professional life as savior of this newspaper, is not going anywhere. The bill proposing his removal is simply a blow across the bow of Democrats eager to eradicate the statues of Confederates.
Secondly, and for the record, we’re averse to the removal of statues pretty much of any historical figure. The key word, of course, is “historical.” And Mr. Byrd, his antediluvian segregationist stances notwithstanding, was a historical giant — one of Virginia’s most progressive governors (a stringent anti-lynching law and a much-needed road-building plan) and then a titan of the U.S. Senate as protector of the U.S. budget. It’s long been said he treated the people’s buck as he treated his own — frugally.
Now for the present: Republican Del. Wendell Walker of Lynchburg has introduced a bill to take down the Byrd statue precisely because that’s one statue jackhammer-happy Democrats aren’t talking about removing. So Mr. Walker is putting Democrats on the spot, Democrats who even wish to uproot Gen. Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol, a move supported by Gov. Northam, who seems ready to do anything to make people forget that blackface photo in his medical college yearbook.
Whatever, it’s a slick move by a young delegate. Mr. Byrd should no more be the subject of removal than any of the men on Monument Avenue. Mr. Walker knows that; hence his cut-off-at-the-pass proposal.