Letters to the Editor

Kansas City Star, Saturday, February 13, 1999
� Copyright 1999 Kansas City Star

Bob Barr Replies

In a column Jan. 31, you suggest I am closely associated with a group known as the Council of Conservative Citizens. As a former United States attorney who has prosecuted white supremacists and racially motivated police violence, I find this charge so offensive and inaccurate that I cannot ignore it.

As I have said before, I find the racial views of this group repugnant and would never have spoken there if I had known of their views beforehand. In fact, I have told the group in writing that I disagree with its ridiculous opinions on race and have urged others to dissociate themselves from the CCC.

It is absurd and irresponsible for anyone to suggest that one speech -- during which I discussed only the impeachment process, as I was asked to do -- implies that I in any way share or support this group's views. As the record shows, I don't.

In the past several years, I have shared the stage with other groups with whom I disagree on some issues, such as the ACLU. Is it also your contention that sharing the stage with members of the ACLU makes me a liberal activist?

I deeply believe the color of a person's skin, the church he worships in or the country where he was born should have absolutely nothing to do with the opportunities he has in society or the status he holds under the law. I look forward to the day when our law and society are completely color-blind, and will continue working toward that goal as long as I am in office.

U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (7th District, Georgia)
Washington, D.C.

What Does It Prove?

I have been seeing a great deal of opinion being published about the Council for Conservative Citizens and their racist views. Have any of these writers been to a meeting of this organization to confirm whether that is true or not? I know I haven't. A great deal of hay is being made by the accusers of Rep. Bob Barr and Sen. Trent Lott. Maybe Barr and Lott did speak to this group, maybe this group is racist. What does that prove about anything?

Harry Truman once spoke to the Ku Klux Klan. Does that make Truman a racist? Truman told off the Klan during his encounter and later desegregated the armed forces.

The last thing that I heard, we all have the right to free speech no matter how stupid the belief it comes from. That right belongs to everyone, right or left. To those people that like to smear reputations all I can do is repeat Harry Truman, "Shame on you."

Calvin L. Oyler
Parkville, Missouri