Jesse Helms, the conservative senator died today on fourth of July at the age of 86. He passed away on the same day as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
A few good things about the senator. Some fondly recalled how the senator would invite pages to sit down and have a chat over ice cream. This would inevitably leave a lasting impression on the young excited minds. Jesse Helms served in Vietnam.
A few questionable things. Helms opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a commentator and voted against its reauthorization once in the Senate. He notoriously registered his disgust in 1993 when President Clinton nominated an openly homosexual woman to serve at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “I’m not going to put a lesbian in a position like that,” Helms said at the time. “If you want to call me a bigot,Â fine.”
Jesse Helms was also a big red shiny conservative and never made any bones about it.
No to civil rights. No to abortion. No to communism. No to the United Nations. No to gay rights. No to arts funding with nakedness. No to school busing. No to the U.S. giving up the Panama Canal. No to a nuclear arms reduction treaty called Salt II.
But above all, Jesse Helms was an American patriot and ought to be remembered as one. His approach may have differed but he always had the interest of America paramount.
That was Jesse for you.