Friday, July 04, 2008

Free at Last, Free (of him) at Last!

Former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms died early this morning. No doubt it would have pleased him to die on the Fourth of July, though likely not as much as making it to next April 12 would have.

You know, I disagreed with pretty much every position Jesse Helms ever took--on race, on militarism, on art, on religion, on gay rights and civil rights in general. But when a man dies, you have to be respectfully willing to give him his due on the things he did right.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what those things are. Maybe he was a good family man?

If I remember correctly, soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jesse Helms used one of his popular WRAL radio commentaries to say that King had gotten what he deserved for promoting violence. In that eulogistic spirit, let me commemorate the life of Jesse Helms with some things that he definitely did say about race and social justice:
—"It is time to face, honestly and sincerely, the purely scientific evidence of natural racial distinction in group intellect."

—Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers can be "proved Communists and sex perverts.”

—King is “a sham, an agitator, a fellow traveler with known communists … King can wave his Nobel Peace Prize to his heart’s content, [but his movement] is about as non-violent as the Marines landing on Iwo Jima, and is a ‘movement’ only in the sese that mob action is moving and spreading throughout the land.”

—In 1968, Helms could hear in in King’s voice “the crackle of anarchy and the threat of violence.”

Rest in Silence, Jesse Helms.


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