The carcass of former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms was interred yesterday. Good riddance to filth! The controversial politician died on July 4th as many were granted independence on the national holiday from his wrath on earth. A bit tough for the recently departed? Rubbish! Helms’ declaration in his memoir “Here’s Where I Stand,” that he was “not the least bit racist,” is not where he stood anywhere at any time in his career as a politician. Quite the opposite of what he said Helms stood with his fellow racists on the opposing side of civil rights legislation time and time again. The southern conservative bigot once described the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 as “the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress.” Of the opinion that black people were inherently inferior to the white race, Helms continued his nightmarish racist politics up until his last two senatorial campaigns.
Among the late Jesse Helms’ “greatest hates” was the infamous “white hands” campaign ad that was used to thwart the challenge of his black Democrat political opponent Harvey Gantt. The racist television ad wedging the southern working class along color lines was the crux of Helms’ electoral stratagems. The son of a ‘good ol’ Southern sheriff,” the former North Carolina senator has innumerable other examples of racism from which to cite. Helms’ “greatest hates,” also includes a publicized elevator encounter with black congresswoman Carol Moseley Braun. The proponent of the Confederate flag began singing “Dixie,” in an effort, as he later revealed, hoping to make the congresswoman cry. Helms also filibustered against the declaration of a national holiday for one of our finest countrymen in history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also extended his hate to homosexuals with many choice quotes highlighting his homophobia. Displaying a racism knowing no bounds, Helms made his mark in the international arena by siding with the racist white minority regime in Rhodesia against Zimbabwean black liberation. He also protested the U.S. joint congressional address of South African liberation hero Nelson Mandela. With such a track record, the world has very little to mourn in the death of Jesse Helms.
Unfortunately, white racists in the United States enjoy the white washing sanitizing treatment of the major corporate media outlets. Posthumous praise in the press has characterized the late Jesse Helms as a confrontational conservative ideologue with a tenacious fighting spirit much more so than as a lawmaker with openly racist and homophobic beliefs who attacked welfare, affirmative action, and other social programs. Despite a plethora of examples from which to characterize Helms as an affronting racist, major print and television media have sadly swayed from calling a spade a spade. This man, who has been on the wrong side of a progressing history towards a decent humanity, should be remembered for who he truly was and what he truly stood for from his seat of power. Corporate media does a disservice when shying away from using “racist” as a highly accurate descriptive term for the life and politics of Jesse Helms. Opting instead for deceptive adjectives such as “racially charged,” and “racially tinged,” only soften a reality that is undeniably harsh. As if complicit in the devil’s greatest trick, the corporate media is trying to convince the populace that racism in the United States does not even exist. One thing that is for sure is that one racist former Senator no longer exists and can not haunt us with his nightmares on Helms street anymore. Just don’t fall asleep!