Jesse Helms

The bigotry of Burr and Ellmers

Could there possibly be two members of Congress who are more irrelevant, vile, divisive, and generally fucked-up than Dick Burr and Renee Ellmers? Their ongoing crusade to name a federal office building after North Carolina's legendary racist Senator No continues to boggle the mind.

Say NO to naming a federal building after Jesse Helms

PLEASE JOIN PROGRESS NORTH CAROLINA IN TELLING CONGRESS: DO NOT REWARD HATE SPEECH & INTOLERANCE. Please sign our petition rejecting a bill recently introduced by Congresswoman Renee Ellmers that seeks to name a federal building in Raleigh after Jesse Helms.

As anyone who lived in North Carolina before 2000 knows, for decades Jesse Helms embarassed our state by standing for antiquated, racist, outdated political views. He fought against equal rights, civil rights and women's rights while absolutely villifying gay Americans with his obsessive hompohobia. He opposed a federal holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. and once accused kids who got free lunches of double dipping in the welfare system and suggested their food stamps be cut to adjust. Click thru to learn more.

Ringleader of Party of Five, James Crawford raised money for Burr & Dole

In recent days, longserving Democrat, James W. Crawford of Oxford in Granville County has attained a new and shocking level of notoriety as the ringleader of the infamous Party of Five collaborators who voted with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The poisonous fruit of this nefarious conspiracy will impose a disastrous budget featuring draconian cuts of $900 million to the University of North Carolina as well as slashing funds for Planned Parenthood and Medicaid in what many now see as a political pact with the devil.

While the Party rank and file is stunned to see senior Democrat Crawford openly conspiring with Republicans to topple the bright, shining edifice of public instruction built by progressive Democratic leaders in the mold of Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt, little is generally known about his political ideology and his personal background. Crawford's background is a fascinating case of political devilry.

Martinez demonstrates his ignorance on racial matters

A sophomoric attempt to discredit the African-American Museum in DC:

The late Sen. Jesse Helms was an ardent opponent of establishing a Smithsonian museum for African-American history. He argued that it would trigger a string of history museums based on race and culture.

The more likely reason for his opposition is the very strong possibility that he himself would be on exhibit, and not in a position of honor, either. Not only did he adamantly and powerfully oppose civil rights, desegregation, voting rights, affirmative action, etc., he also spent 16 days filibustering the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday.

Harvey Gantt: "We DID win."

Harvey Gantt, twice nominated by North Carolina Democrats to run against Jesse Helms for the US Senate, speaks to the ultimate legacy of those two historic races. His words here represent one of those rare occurances: a beautiful, gracious moment in the political evolution of our state. Thank you, Mr. Gantt.

Why the NC legislature honoring Jesse Helms is so outrageous

Cross-posted at Facing South

At today's memorial for John Hope Franklin at Duke University, playwright Emily Mann -- daughter of historian Arthur Mann, a close friend of Franklin's -- related one of many illuminating personal stories about the pioneering historian and scholar. In a conversation about the North Carolina political landscape, someone asked Franklin "Where did Jesse Helms come from?" Franklin quickly replied, "From hell" -- "not missing a beat," Mann said.

Telling the truth about the departed

It's funny, isn't it, that we are tempted to lie about the dead? To deny those parts of complex personalities that made us uncomfortable, or reminded us of their humanity? Instead, at the end of a life, we all gather and feel pressure, from somewhere, to pretend we loved the person, even if we didn't. To remember that one time the person was decent, rather than the 99.99% of the rest of the miserable experiences you had with her.

So, I expect even the N&O, the long-time foresworn enemy / tango partner of Senator Jesse Helms, will pull out all the hagiographic stops as Jesse Helms is laid to rest over the next few days. I guess we should expect it.

What I had to say three years ago about the man, however, I am still willing to say today. And you can read it at The Stinging Nettle, or below the fold.

Turning The Page

Conventional wisdom shows us that when a politician makes a personal connection with a citizen, and provides a personal service – the politician will gain that citizen’s support regardless of whatever differences they may have on the issues. Fortunately, that one enduring quality didn’t faze me in the least and I’ve spent most of my professional life fighting everything that Senator Helms stood for.

Bye, Jesse, you left quite a legacy

Crossposted on Pam's House Blend

Jesse Helms has died. As a native and current resident of North Carolina, even today many people I run into outside of this state who know little about it -- recognize the name Jesse Helms. He leaves a long, dark trail of professional racial bigotry (he opposed the MLK national holiday, and civil rights legislation) and homophobia (that list is so long, you don't know where to begin).

Former U.S. Sen. Jesse A. Helms, the son of a Monroe police chief who rose to national prominence as one of the leading lions of the American right, died early this morning. He was 86.

During a political career that began with his election to the Raleigh City Council in the late 1950s and included 30 years in the U.S. Senate, Jesse Alexander Helms endeared himself to conservatives throughout the country.

Helms became known as "Senator No" for his constant battles against everything from increased government spending to civil rights legislation to communism to the National Endowment for the Arts.

I viewed the late Senator many a time when he was a commentator on WRAL. For me, as a young child of color, his blunt, unforgiving, unacceptable views were distressing and surreal to watch.

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