No Longer at the Helm

I’ve thought long and hard for almost a week now about whether a post about Jesse Helms is appropriate here. I decided it is because politics, and well-known political figures, most certainly become part of the fabric of pop culture.

As a North Carolinian, Jesse holds a special place in my heart. A dark place, filled with hatred and loathing for only the most reprehensible and despicable. Perhaps it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead, but I cannot stand to hear one more laudatory speech about what a fine statesman ol’ Jesse was.

He was a racist, homophobic son-of-a-bitch who made my state, which confoundingly voted his stupid ass into office for term after term, look like a bunch of backward hillbilly rednecks.

Let’s take a look at some of Jesse’s greatest hits:

* In 1950, Helms began his political career working as a researcher and strategist for segregationist candidate Willis Smith’s bid for the senate. He helped come up with this pity ad: “White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.”

* In 1960, Helms works on the campaign of I. Beverly Lake, Sr., who ran on a platform of racial segregation in the face of the Cooper v. Aaron decision, which called for the dismantling of segregated schools.

* Helms referred to the University of North Carolina as the “University of Negroes And Communists.”

* Helms opposed the bill to make Martin Luther King, Jr. day a federal holiday in 1983

* Helms opposed Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988, stating, “There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.”

*When the mother of Ryan White, a young boy who died of AIDS given to him by a blood transfusion, visited Congress on behalf of people with AIDS, Helms refused to speak to her, even when she was alone with him in an elevator.

* During the 1990 campaign, Helms ran against Charlotte mayor, Harvey Gantt. As the numbers got tighter in the home stretch, Helms pandered to the racists with a late-running television commercial showinga white man’s hands ripping up a rejection notice from a company that gave the job to a “less qualified minority.”

* After a vote on the Confederate flag in the Senate, Helms deeply offended Carol Moseley-Braun, who, along with many others, viewed the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism. After the vote, Helms encountered Moseley-Braun in an elevator and turned to his friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), and said, “Watch me make her cry. I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing ‘Dixie’ until she cries.”

A real sweetheart, ain’t he?

And yeah, I know he “renounced” many of his previous positions later in life, but honestly, who really believes that? It’s hard to carry on as the neighborhood bigot when times are changing. Ol’ Jesse still wanted to get elected, so he knew he had to tone it down just a bit. The fact remains that he spent the majority of his life and political career spreading hate and ignorance, and for that reason, I’m glad the fucker’s gone. The sooner that old generation of bigots dies off, the closer we’ll be to having a truly united country.


5 responses to “No Longer at the Helm

  1. myrtlebeachbum

    Right on, Dotty Z. He had his chance to repent and redeem himself, and I didn’t buy the impotent effort he made. He is the worst of the South, and I’m glad he’s dead. I hope he rots in hell.

    I, too, have been thinking about posting about him, but I think you’ve said it better than I could have. I’m still gonna write, at some point, about the pros and cons of the Southern states I’ve lived in. I have to say that old Jesse is one of the few nasty things about your state, so yay for all of you that he’s dead – good riddance!

  2. dorothyzbornak

    You know, I love the South. I was born and raised in the South, and I will die in the South. And I love North Carolina too. And people like him (and all the stupid ‘necks who believe that shit and voted for him) make me embarrassed to be Southern. We’re not all like that and the fewer those people around, the better this region will be, in my book.

  3. Yay Dorothy. Love this post. When I first saw his obits I either didn’t fully know the extent of his shitheadness or tried not to think about it too much. But the more I see, the more ugh. As someone else said, I wish he’d have lived to see Barack Obama be president. A Negro in office! That might have killed him right there.

    I too, love many things about the South, but every time I drive back to Texas I have to flip off the “Proud home of George W. Bush” sign.

    I’m thinking of getting a season of your hit television show from Amazon. Which season should I start with? I’m thinking 1 as of now because well, it’s the first one.

  4. dorothyzbornak

    Ooh, well, you can’t go wrong with any of the seasons. I actually just bought Season 6, which includes one of my favorite episodes. It’s the one with Blanche’s recurring dream that George didn’t really die, he faked his death, and he returns to her. Also in the dream, Sonny Bono and Lyle Waggoner fight for the love of Dorothy. It’s an amazing episode. The final season also has some really good stuff. Hell, all the seasons do. They’re like children, it’s hard to pick the one I love the best.

  5. Pingback: My college freinds blog on the life and death of Jessie Helm's (NC Resident and proud of it...) -

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