“A lot of crackers have their burning crosses at half-mast today in his honor.”
This is my favorite statement on the death of Jesse Helms. I found it in the comments on AmericaBlog’s post about said death. It’s one of the most colorful, but hardly the nastiest. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read such blissful nastiness about anyone’s death, ever. But, then again, I didn’t go on any of the I-hate-A-rabs sites after the execution of Saddam Hussein.
(Before y’all get indignant about my comparison of Saddam Hussein and Jesse Helms, I would like to state that they are not comparable. Saddam Hussein was a dictator who murdered his enemies and anyone in his way so that he could stay in power and get rich. Jesse Helms was a senator who liked to see gay people die of AIDS so that he could, um, well… see gay people die of AIDS?)
I had a good giggle this morning as I went through my blog roll and my favorite bookmarks and saw how folks were dealing with Jesse Helms’ descent into Hell. (The comments on the Times are awesome, and the most fair obit is on Pam’s House Blend.) Here’s a round up:
Jesse Helms Finally Dead
We interrupt your Fourth of July with some Breaking News: Jesse Helms was apparently still alive, and now he’s dead, hooray! He was a sour troll and a bigot, and it’s a testament to every rotten thing about this country that for a quarter century, he was one of the most powerful people in American politics.
Jesse Helms At An Obama Rally
Rare vintage footage. I’m pretty firm about always respecting the dead. [Except when the dead is a liberal, like John Kenneth Galbraith. --Ed.] But since he spent his life doing all he could to make my gay brothers and sisters marginalized, hated and dead, it is hard to feel what a Christian should. And since he was personally responsible for removing my right to become an American, and his legacy of hatred toward those struggling with HIV is still alive, forgive me for finding forgiveness hard. But may he rest in the peace he so wanted to deny so many others – because they were different from him.
Jesse Helms was the Abraham that led all the haters across the Red Sea and into Congress and showed them the way to their promised land of legislative horrors. He raised his mighty scepter on high and bellowed his message more shamelessly, more enduringly and more effectively – more than any other before him, or along side him. He proved that there was no floor to the depth of lurid bigotry you could rain down on gay people from the most prestigious debating well of the Republic — and there would also be no retribution, only greater power and glory. He proved that hating us was a winner. There would have been no Defense of Marriage Act, no Federal Marriage Amendment, without him. They, too, should be set on course for oblivion. All about that man’s legacy should be tipped into the sea.
NOTE FROM JOHN: Pig.
ANOTHER NOTE FROM JOHN: AP could only find one negative quote that Helms made? They’re making him sound like Garrison Keillor.
One of the most hateful men in American politics is dead:
Former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican who became an icon to conservatives, died Friday at the age of 86, a senior congressional source told CNN.
Can’t even begin to think of anything nice to say about this guy — but a lot of other people will start praising Helms as if none of the hateful stuff matters. The hateful stuff matters. Let’s reminisce on the life of one of America’s biggest bigots who ruined the lives of so many.
As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, Helms reportedly helped create attack ads against Smith’s opponent, including one which read: “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.” Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham’s wife had danced with a black man. (The News and Observer, 8/26/01; The New Republic, 6/19/95; The Observer, 5/5/96; Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms, by Ernest B. Furgurson, Norton, 1986)
The University of North Carolina was “the University of Negroes and Communists.” (Capital Times, 11/22/94) Black civil rights activists were “Communists and sex perverts.” (Copley News Service, 8/23/01)
Of civil rights protests Helms wrote, “The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights.” (WRAL-TV commentary, 1963) He also wrote, “Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life which must be faced.” (New York Times, 2/8/81)
Helms on “degenerate, weak, sick homosexuals”:
Over the years Helms has declared homosexuality “degenerate,” and homosexuals “weak, morally sick wretches.” (Newsweek, 12/5/94) In a tirade highlighting his routine opposition to AIDS research funding, Helms lashed out at the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988: “There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.” (States News Service, 5/17/88)
Helms being a racist:
And the man ABC News now describes as a “conservative icon” (8/22/01) in 1993 sang “Dixie” in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, bragging, “I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing Dixie until she cries.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/5/93)
Helms filibusters making Martin Luther King day a national holiday:
A year before the election, when public polls showed Helms trailing by 20 points, he launched a Senate filibuster against the bill making the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. a national holiday. (David Broder, Washington Post, Aug, 29, 2001)
Sen. Jesse Helms says the government should spend less money on people with AIDS because they got sick as a result of “deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct,” The New York Times reported Wednesday….
“We’ve got to have some common sense about a disease transmitted by people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts,” Helms told the Times.
And before anyone says that Helms came around on AIDS in his later years. No he didn’t. He came around on AIDS in Africa. Still didn’t want to help Americans with AIDS because, you know, they were homersexuals.
Jesse Helms Dead Dead Dead
And now for some choice quotes from DEAD Jesse Helms, the greatest embarrassment to my home state of North Carolina and the nation:
- On threatening the life of a sitting president: “Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He’d better have a bodyguard.”
- On gays and AIDS: “It’s their deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct that is responsible for the disease”
- On equality: “I’ve been portrayed as a caveman by some. That’s not true. I’m a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they slants, beaners, or niggers.”
- On education: “Your tax dollars are being used to pay for grade-school classes that teach our children that cannibalism, wife-swapping and murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior.”
- On civil rights: “The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights.”
- On journalists: “The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian.”
- On the Duke University students upset by Martin Luther King’s assassination: “They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro.”
Jesse Helms is Dead
Happy 4th of July! The former North Carolina senator who viciously attacked LGBT people, and who stopped funding for AIDS programs and HIV prevention programs at such a critical time in 1980s, is dead today at the age of 86. He was a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist and an all-around hatemonger. Let’s not let the media whitewash any of that.
One by one, these monsters are going down, along with their dangerous troglodyte views. But it’s bittersweet when I think of all the lives lost.
No, I do not have any sympathy for his family at this time or anyone else connected to this man, so fuck that usual nicety reserved even for the family of those with whom you disagreed. This is beyond a “disagreement .” Jesse Helms almost single-handedly allowed the deaths of thousands — willfully denied them help — while pushing his moral agenda in the Senate. His faint supposed apology in recent years — for not doing more on AIDS, not for his vicious homophobia — was far too little, too late, designed to clean up his ghastly legacy a little bit before he croaked. Throughout the 80s and 90s my friends died, and perhaps some of your friends died too, because this man stalled vital research and prevention efforts and villified gay people.
Anyone close to him had the responsibility to speak out, loudly, against what he did. They all sat by, apparently even his granddaughter who is a judge in North Carolina and is a lesbian. Fuck Jesse Helms, and may he rot in hell.
Jesse Helms Dead at 86
Former Republican Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina died today. He was 86.
You can search the archives of this web site and see that I have never before called anyone a bigot. It’s just something that I generally don’t do. But the word was coined precisely to describe people like Helms. He was a genuine, unabashed bigot, and he made his bigotry a hallmark of his career. Now that he is dead, his bigotry will be enshrined as his lasting legacy.
Throughout his public career, Helms was always on the wrong side of history. During his daily editorial broadcasts on Raleigh’s WRAL-TV, he railed against desegregation, calling the University of North Carolina the “University of Negroes and Communists.” In 1968 when Duke University students staged a vigil in response to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, he remarked, “They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro.”
He held a special antipathy toward gays and lesbians. In a 1995 radio broadcast he remarked, “Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches.” He opposed governmental funds for AIDS research, complaining that “It’s their deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct that is responsible for the disease.” He opposed funding for research, treatment, and providing medically accurate information about the disease. We may never know how many people died partly because of his intransigence.
Twenty years later, we are still trying to undo Helms’ damage. He was responsible for the HIV travel ban, barring visitors and immigrants with HIV from entering the United States. The U.S. is one of only twelve countries in the world with such a ban. We share that distinction with the likes of Sudan, Russia, Libya and Saudi Arabia. The ban’s repeal is awaiting a vote in the Senate, which may come as early as next week.
The bigot is dead. Happy Independence Day.
And then there are the comments on the CNN obituary, which white-washes (heh) his career:
Oh happy day.
Will they bury him in his KKK atire? It’s nice to finally see some good news on CNN.
Good Riddance!! The world would be a better place
had he croaked 80 years ago.
How could you forget to mention that he was an active racist and segregationist? Or that he thought that if a woman was really raped, she couldn’t get pregnant? Or his hatred for gay Americans? What a bunch of wussies your writers are to shy away from all the evil this man did just because he’s dead. I can only laugh at the thought of him trying to get past St. Peter. Hello, Hell express!
This guy gave conservatives a bad name. He was a racist, pure and simple.
Jesse Helms was a five time Senator that promoted racism for 30 years in the Senate. He never apologized for his actions. I have more respect for Senator Strom Thurmond and Governor Wallace from Alabama. They recanted their positions on race relations. This racist Jesse Helms ran his senate runs on race fear. It’s a day of celebration that this racist has left this world.
guess satan has a new playmate.
I respect the fact that Senator Helms lived and voted by the courage of his convictions. Now, I must speak by the courage of mine and say, may God dig his grave very deep. I hated everything that man stood for.
If you’re a Christian Jesse is probably in a very hot, unpleasant place. If you believe in Karm he’s probably reborn a a poor black child in Somalia. Helms once said, “The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that has thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic and commerce and interfere with other men’s rights.”
This life is not a great one lost…Let there be peace on earth!
A nastying-away death is usually slow and lingering, isn’t it…..like the poetic death of Reagan?
Good riddance! You’ve got a lot to answer for when you meet St. Peter, Jesse!
May he burn in hell. He was a bigot and racist.
Here it comes- right wing wackos will be trying to name everything from streets to hot dog stands after this bastion of hate and oppression. What an insult to the majority.
Yeah ! Ding **** the WITCH is dead ding **** Jesse Helm Is DEAD! finally someone dropped a house on the ***.
They say you should always speak good of the dead. Jesse Helms is dead. GOOD!
He had a bad heart.
Doesn’t sound surprising.
Saddam, Hitler, wake up!! You have more company in hell!
Long may Jesse rot!!
In a world burning with war for oil and fascist US leadership there is some good news. Goodbye and good riddance to former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, a racist *** who would have taken us back to legalized slavery had he been given his way. Hope you find a good seat in hell Jesse, next too Adolph Hitler and GWB when he kicks.
As a gay man who loves his country, let me say *good riddance.*
Although we are often told to respect the dead, I can’t help but feel relieved that this man is now gone. To remind everyone of his deranged psyche, here are actual quotes of his:
“The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian.”
“All Latins are volatile people. Hence, I was not surprised at the volatile reaction.”
“Your tax dollars are being used to pay for grade-school classes that teach our children that cannibalism, wife-swapping and murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior.”
“Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches.”
I am happy to say ‘good riddance’ and grateful he can no longer speak. The world is better off without him.
The old hatemonger is dead! All the more reason to celebrate this 4th of July!
The world has less hate and intolerance today. Good riddance Jesse.
Sen. Jesse Helms, you will NOT be missed! May you and all like you experience the pain you have subjected others to forever…. I only hope that your death signals the death of your breed of vipers. You’re forever an ignoranus. That is how you will be remembered and why you will soon be forgotten!
Dead on the 4th of July… the air smells sweeter already.
Won’t he be suprised when he gets to the Perly Gates and discovers St. Peter is black.
Man! Jerry Falwell AND Jesse Helms both gone in less than two years. How awesome is that!
Helms was one of the worst things to have ever happened to North Carolina politics. A truly devicive not to mention racist man.
I’ll miss Senator Helms. Being born in 1980 my childhood was filled with hearing about him at the dinner table and on the television. When I was a Senior in high school I went to Raleigh to be a Page. That day Dr. Billy Graham came and addressed a joint session of the State house and senate. It was to my surprise that Senator Helms accepted an invitation and came Raleigh. He entered the changer no more than 2 feet away from me. I sincerely felt I was in a room with two of the greatest men alive. It is fitting that he died on the 4th of July, as did John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. God bless his family, our prayers are with them. [When I clipped all of these comments, this was one of the two that said anything nice about Helms. And it's totally nutty. --Ed.]
Are we supposed to mourn that this disgusting agent of ignorance and bigotry is dead? If only all the harm he did would end along with him. Unfortunately it will haunt us for years to come.
God Bless him…..and he passed on on the 4th of July. How approprate. [And this was the other. --Ed.]
What a great day!