Yay! Something everyone everywhere can celebrate today. America is free! Free of one of the most malevolent and powerful doctrinaire bigots it’s seen since Emancipation.
Let’s all sing along with Klaus Nomi, whom Helms would have hated on general principles, even though he’s not black. Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead!
There are some great comments over on Gawker, but it appears the site is down right now. Instead, let’s look at a sliver of what the Guardian had to say about him:
Senator Jesse Helms, member of the US Senate’s foreign relations committee for two decades and its chairman from 1995 to 2001, has died at the age of 86. To echo this newspaper’s memorable comment on the death of William Randolph Hearst, it is hard even now to think of him with charity…
He became one of the most powerful and baleful influences on American foreign policy, repeatedly preventing his country paying its UN contributions, voting against virtually all arms control measures, opposing international aid programmes as “pouring money down foreign rat holes”, and avidly supporting military juntas in Latin America and minority white regimes in Southern Africa.
In domestic politics he denounced the 1964 Civil Rights Act as “the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress”, voted against a supreme court justice because she was “likely to uphold the homosexual agenda”, acted for years as spokesman for the large tobacco companies, was reprimanded by the justice department and the federal election commission for electoral malpractice, and compiled a dismal personal record as a slum landlord…
Robert Pastor, whose ambassadorship to Panama was scuppered by Helms in 1995, commented that, “nothing Jesse Helms did in his entire career will enhance America’s national security more than his retirement.”
I wish the CBC had had the courage to call it like it actually was. For their mealymouthed obit, click here, although why would you?
Here are some quotes from Helms himself:
I was with some Vietnamese recently, and some of them were smoking two cigarettes at the same time. That’s the kind of customers we need!
I’m so old-fashioned I believe in horse whipping.
To rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend that he doesn’t have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and dancing.
Rest in place. Let’s build a monument bigger than the pyramid of Cheops on top of the bugger, lest he try to claw his way back.