Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

JESSE HELMS: CONSERVATIVE HERO

UPDATE:

North Carolina state employee forced to retire for refusing to honor Jesse Helms.


L.F. Eason, a 29-year veteran of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, “instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday” to honor the late senator Jesse Helms, “as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.” In a string of e-mail messages with his superiors, Eason was told he could either lower the flags or retire effective immediately. Here is Eason’s reasoning for his decision to retire:
This is in no way a political decision. I simply do not feel it is appropriate to honor a person whose epitaph of government service was to have voted against or blocked every civil rights issue that came before the US Congress. His doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice cost North Carolina and our Nation much that we may never regain.


GOOD FOR YOU, MR. EASON!
********************************************************************************

Over at the National Review – Mark Levin declares that the late Jesse Helms championed the causes of abused minorities. More praise came from President Bush:

“Jesse Helms was a kind, decent, and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called the Miracle of America.”


Conservatives are saying that Helms is a brilliant exemplar of the American conservative movement. This is the man they are tripping over themselves to praise on the news of his death:

Media Downplay Bigotry of Jesse Helms 8/31/01:

Washington Post columnist David Broder, whose August 29 column, headlined "Jesse Helms, White Racist," offered a glimpse into the public record that many other reporters were side-stepping. Broder offered a few examples of Helms' bigotry. There are 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)


Ancient history? No. Helms remains unapologetic to this day. Forty years after the Smith campaign, Helms would win election against black opponent Harvey Gantt with another ad playing to racist white fear-- the so-called "white hands" ad, in which a white man's hands crumple a rejected job application while a voiceover intones, "You needed that job…but they had to give it to a minority."


In columns, commentaries and pronouncements from the Senate floor, Helms sowed hatred and called names: 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)


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)


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)


More recently, when a caller to CNN's Larry King Live show praised guest Jesse Helms for "everything you've done to help keep down the niggers," Helms' response was to salute the camera and say, "Well, thank you, I think." (Wilmington Star-News, 9/16/95)


Finally, Helms' strong if sometimes shadowy support for violent, anti-democratic forces abroad, from South Africa to El Salvador, might have given media outlets further pause in describing him as a mere conservative; few probed his ties to groups that would more accurately be described as fascist.


One exception was an editorial in the Boston Globe (8/23/01): "Helms' role in supporting foreign thugs such as Roberto D'Aubuisson, the cashiered Salvadoran major who ran death squads responsible for savage political murders, did lasting harm to America's good name. In South Africa, Argentina, Mozambique, Honduras, and Nicaragua, Helms cooperated with racists and fascists who have nothing in common with the ideals of American democracy."

Source:

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1871

17 comments:

Christopher said...

It's a damned shame Helms didn't hold off death until January, 2009 and the election of Barack Obama.

The image of an African American elected to the highest office in the land would've made that nasty, old racist blow a gasket!

Oh well, the world is a better place with Helms gone.

shaw kenawe said...

Amen, brother.

Patrick M said...

I'm not disagreeing with any facts you've laid out, nor am I defending anything anybody you've quoted has said.

However, short of a serial killer, rapist, terrorist, or degenerate sub-human that offers no value to the face of the Earth whatsoever (and I think I just shot myself in the foot with that last line) why do you feel the obsessive need to piss on the dead?

shaw kenawe said...

Patrick. I'm acknowledging what Helms stood for in his life, and I've given examples of it in his own words. My post does not denigrate him. I just posted what he said and stood for.

How is that pissing on the dead?

Those are his words, not mine.

Patrick M said...

How is that pissing on the dead?

Timing and motivation.

What purpose is there to pull this up, other than to score political points on a corpse?

What reason is there other than to work people who didn't like him and agree with you (Christopher, for example) into a froth?

It's a matter of simple courtesy to those who lost someone who impacted them in a positive way to NOT start kicking at every opportunity.

If he were retiring from Congress and you wanted to strike back, I wouldn't say a word. But at a time when someone is facing mortality, it's downright cold as a human being to get up on the soapbox with a fire hose.

Consider what you would say if you read a post with a similar tone when Teddy Kennedy dies. I'll be reacting the same way to the blogger that writes that, too.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Other than the tragedy of Chappaquiddick, which the Right has exploited for 40 years, what has Ted Kennedy ever done or said against the white or black race? Against homosexuals? Nothing.

But the right won't let go of Cappaquiddick--a terrible, terrible accident and Kennedy's actions afterward.

After 40 years, I'm guessing the Senator has made his peace with his god and the Kopeckne family.

Apparently, the Right doesn't believe in redemption or forgiveness--Christian mercy?

The rightwing blogs are saturated with sickening references to that terrible period in Ted Kennedy's life whenever the senator makes a speech or is seen on tv.

Unlike Helms, who remained an unreconstructed bigot all his life, Kennedy has worked for social justice and equality and has the respect of all his fellow Senators. Orrin Hatch is a very close friend.

He has suffered more tragedy than most people do in 10 life times, but it's not enough for the Right.

That, of course, says more about their character than it does Ted Kennedy's.

I know whereof I speak. A very close family friend lost their son in the twin towers on 9/11--and Kennedy did more than anyone would expect for not just their family, but for every family who suffered as well.

He knows about tragedy, loss, pain and suffering from both sides, and he's a real human being because he knows what it is like to have given and have suffered that kind of pain.

Consider what you would say if you read a post with a similar tone when Teddy Kennedy dies. I'll be reacting the same way to the blogger that writes that, too.

You believe it is much better to criticize a man while he's living so he can feel the full measure of scorn from those who criticize him? Rather than when death protects him/her from hearing those slings and arrows?

I disagree.

Nothing anyone says can hurt Jesse Helms now. But I never said anything other than quote his own words.

You best direct your criticizm at him, not me. I didn't say those racist things--he did.

Please reread the post. I did not denigrate him--he did that by his own words.

Patrick M said...

Okay, I reread everything. And in the end, I come up with one question. If you answer it honestly, then you'll get my point. Because there are times to score political points, and there are times to step back and remain silent. And knowing that is a good way to get the measure of a person. So here's the question:

Why did you feel the need to post this upon his death?

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

Patrick,

I believe you have an argument with Jesse Helms, not me.

I posted what he said because he was a very outspoken political figure during the Civil Rights era of this country and his passing, along with Strom Thurmond's closes a shameful chapter in our country's Civil Right struggle.

We have a man running for president who would have been reviled by Helms and Thurmond if he had attempted to run for dog catcher in those days.

Helms represented what was ugly in our past and there is nothing wrong with revisiting it so that we never repeat that in our future, whether it is against Muslims, gays, Latinos or any other minority.

I did not say anything against Jesse Helms--his words along defined who he was. Not mine.

Anonymous said...

You have done right to post the truth about this horrible bigot as the rest of the media is trying to whitewash this unrepentant segregationist. You did not go far enough so I will help you:

1.Helms sponsored black oppression abroad as well as at home--he was the biggest supporter of APARTHEID in the senate and refused to sit and listen when Mandela addressed the UN. He was aganist freeing Mandela just like he was aganist MLK. He authorised millions of aid to prop up the regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia before they became majority rule

2.Jesse not only opposed the civil rights act in the 1960's but when it was renewed, he lead a filibuster to stop it 20 years later

3.Jesse routinely supported dictators and oppressive regimes with death squads like Pinochet and the contras, etc--he never met a fascist he didn't like

4.He was a member of the KKK in Monroe NC--just like his father

5.He changed church affliations in Raleigh NC to Hayes Barton because his previous church let a black person sign the roll as a member

6.he used the N word and its tamer version Nigra liberally in private conversation

7.He and his wife were the biggest slumlords in Raleigh but their summons for having substandard housing in the black part of town were kept private and out of the public record.

Just so you know, I am from Raleigh and lived through seeing him calling people Nigra agitators on Tv and know him and his family fairly well and have met Jesse Helms(and was called a Nigra by him even though we were meeting in a recieving line and I was a small child--I was called a cute little nigra child) so I know what I am talking about.

He was a racist, fascist bigot and hopefully his new accomodations in south Hell are properly segregated.

Patrick M said...

And in repeating everything you said, you still fail to answer my simple question.

The anonymous poster, on the other hand, I give a pass to, as he (or she) was personally insulted by Helms. What's your reason?

shaw kenawe said...

Why did you feel the need to post this upon his death?
July 9, 2008 12:33 PM
--patrick m

"The evil that men do lives after them..."--W.Shakespeare

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." --a paraphrase of Edmund Burke

You still ask me for an answer to why I felt it necessary to post after his death, what Jesse Helms did while he lived.

By your own logic, Patrick, you believe "anonymous" is justified, because he/she suffered humiliation by Helms--but you believe I am not justified, since one should not speak ill of the dead--unless one has personally suffered from the deceased's words or actions.

By your logic, Patrick, no one, except those who directly suffered under them, should speak ill of Hitler, or Stalin or any other tyrant.

Or will you now qualify that too?

JESSE HELMS IS NO HITLER OR STALIN, TO BE SURE, AND I DO NOT COMPARE HIM TO THOSE TYRANTS.

But Helms' actions and words caused considerable suffering to minorities--and to those who believe in equality and justice.

I believe it is proper to remember that at this time.

"The evil that men do lives after them..."

Patrick M said...

I really need to learn to clarify, don't I.

You have a good point, and I can find no fault with your argument.

However, let me pose the question another way. The legacy of Jesse Helms has been written. He will be remembered fondly by some, reviled my many more, and forgotten by most of us (most of what I know about him I have heard in the last week). In the end, though, why do you personally feel the need to focus on someone who certainly earned contempt in life but will be mostly forgotten in death?

ps. This whole conversation inspired a related post on hate. Just some food for the soul.

pps. When they want to throw a monument up to Helms, they're going to get lots of shit aren't they?

Shaw Kenawe said...

Actually, Patrick, one could look at it this way:

Helms had lots of admirers--a good deal of them from the Republican Party, who have remembered him fondly since his death.

I guess one could look at my post as "balance," since those who gave Helms uncritical praise are no more nearer the truth of who the man was than those who only criticize.

He moved away from his racist policies in his sunset years, it is true; but when he had the power to do so, he never stood against racism, never sponsored a piece of legislation to right the wrongs. When he could have been a beacon of justice and a trailblazer for civil rights, as a southerner, for all American citizens, he chose not to take that path.

Patrick M said...

That's why I don't argue content, only timing and the well-being of whatever is the atheist equivalent of what is your soul (I don't have time to look it up).

Anonymous said...

First of all, there will be no public statues, etc for Helms as he was not supported by an average of 48% of the electorate of NC at any given time--far from the popular misconceptionm he was NOT universally beloved in NC and won all his elections by at most 54% of the vote. Even this half mast situation was controversial(a white state offical quit rather than sully his flags for this man) and you will note, Helms laid in state at his beloved(and still virtually segregated) Hayes Barton church and NOT the state capitol for a reason(just like the half mast thing,Easley could have ordered him laying in state at the state capitol as well!). They knew the black voters would tear Easley and the current state leaders a new one if they laid that KKK leader in our capitol. Easley and Co are all getting ready for the next election and do not want a politcal problem with the black vote while they are running Easley's lieutenant governor as the democratic candidate for governor. If you check out the News and Observer, a lot of people are writing in to praise Eason and if you checked out the coverage around the funeral, Helms was universally denounced by the current black leaders they interviewed yet you would not know this from local news coverage--only CNN depicted how controversial this man and his legacy really was and this blog is a welcome step in that direction. As to not speaking ill of the dead--it is ok to speak ill of the wicked dead and it says so in the Bible, starting when the prophets spoke on Jezebel and her end, etc. Helms is an example of the wicked dead as he oppposed true freedom in America and supported segregation and corrupt, murdering regimes. Hitler, Stalin, Papa Doc Duvalier(a Helms favorite) etc post death were all described as the monsters they were--Helms was not as big a monster as they were but he was in that category doing his part for inequity and hatred in this world so that is why many people believe he is in hell today. As we say around here--rest in pieces,Jesse!

Patrick M said...

Anon: I hope that as the Old South racists die out, you can gain a measure of peace in your life.

shaw Kenawe said...

anon,

Thanks for all that information.

Please visit here again.

And as Patrick said, as the old racists die away, may the country begin to heal.

Peace.