Ed Yoder defending the KKK? The now retired Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist – and member in good standing of the liberal establishment – penned a letter to the editor published in the Raleigh News & Observer weighing in on the side of William L. Saunders, a 19th century University of North Carolina history scholar credited with founding the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.
The controversy was instigated by radical professors, impressionable students, and outside “activists” demanding the building named for Saunders at UNC-Chapel Hill be changed with the intent to airbrush him off the rolls of university history for his racist transgressions.
The UNC trustees are investigating the complaints, patiently refraining from saying what most of the public really thinks: that everyone is fed up with cadres of noisy campus radicals re-arranging the historical furniture based on shrill 21st century politically correct sensibilities applied to 19th century social reality.
Conservatives have been silent on the issue for fear of being labeled racists. Thus the voice of liberal journalist Yoder, who has retired to Chapel Hill, resonates. Could it be the old liberal establishment is breaking with the new radicals who fulminate in their name? Could be, but it is too little too late.
Yoder writes: “If the petitioners were closer students of history, they would be familiar with the way history was manipulated in the 20th century.” Yet, during his career, Yoder, with access to the bully pulpit of editorial pages nationally, stood by silently as history was mangled and manipulated by campus radical professors into victim-centered mush.
Not a peep from Yoder as black studies, women’s studies, gay studies and the like replaced the traditional liberal arts curriculum. Had he and his cohorts in the mainstream media been vigilant, the unbalanced attack on Saunders would be laughable, not tragic.
Yoder draws on a book he wrote on Hugo Black, the U. S. Supreme Court justice noted for defense of liberty, who was a member of the Klan: “Once this anti-historical crusade gains a head of steam, should those books not also be burned?”.
But Ed, the head of steam passed by three decades ago. Where were you?