I'm not a particularly forgiving person, and "former member of the KKK" is right up there with "former member of al-Qaeda" in terms of people I'd want to associate myself with. Still, it's hard not to look at Sen. Robert Byrd's journey from KKK leader to supporting the first black president of the United States as a uniquely American story, and one that encapsulates the essential moral journey of this country over the course of the past 100 years. We've gone from the kind of country that elects Klansmen to the Senate, to the kind of country that elects black men to the presidency. There's a danger in patting ourselves on the back too much that we avoid the challenges that are still present, but this still seems like a moment to take stock in how much has changed over the course of Byrd's 92 years.
As for the political implications of Byrd's passing, Nate Silver can explain.