Your average obituary.

There is a kind of brutal asymmetry about the death of Jesse Helms today, the same day that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson shucked their coils mortal in 1826. The birth of our once great country. A campaign season with the first ever African American leading in polls for President.

Happy Fourth of July.

Likely the best thing to be said of him, he had the courage of his convictions. He was consistent. Still, I wouldn’t cross a country road to piss on his grave. Mr. Helms was an evil bigot.

He opposed Martin Luther King Day in 1983.

“Helms once deeply offended a black colleague, Democratic Senator Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois, by singing part of “Dixie” on a Capitol elevator.

Soon after the Senate vote on the Confederate flag insignia, Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) ran into Mosely-Braun in a Capitol elevator. Helms 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.” He then proceeded to sing the song about “the good life” during slavery to Mosely-Braun (Gannett News Service, 1993-09-02; Time, 1993-08-16″

“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.” -From a campaign ad Helms was involved in creating.

Another ad featured photographs Helms doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham’s wife had danced with a black man. (FAIR 2001-09-01, The News and Observer 2001-08-26)

A former Democrat, Helms straddled the Republican expoitation of racial division in the south to fuel his own success.

He consistently opposed gay rights. Although he did once describe the genitalia of Strom Thurmond as “gorgeous” and a “splenderous tract of man flesh”. This, despite the fact that Thurman’s unit had seen battle in an African American vagina.

He was instrumental in the ascendency of Ronald Reagan and therefore a major player in the birth of contemporary conservatism. Neoconservatism. The beginning of what may be the demise of our republic.

Jesse Helms was an asshole, I regret that I have but one toast to hoist in celebration of his dirt nap.

Drinks for my friends.

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