Friday, July 04, 2008

Jesse Helms - Dead. About 40 years too late.

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? -- One of Jesse Helms's contributions to the 1950 North Carolina race for U.S. Senate.

There's a guy named MC Hawking, whose shtick is that he is Stephen Hawking doing hip-hop (actually, nerdcore is the more specific term). He is well-known in certain circles for a song that is probably getting quite a spike in downloads right now -- Why Won't Jesse Helms Just Hurry Up and Die? (Click to listen.)

I hope his last coherent thought was that a black man was poised to become President of the United States in a matter of months. (Helms's last thought, that is -- Not MC H.)

Not only that, but for someone who was such an anti-communist, Helms didn't have a lot of faith in free-market capitalism. He vigorously opposed (with liberal Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone) opening up new avenues for trade with China, and his name is plastered on the Helms-Burton Act, which essentially says that the best way to fight communism is by withholding capitalism from a communist society. Methinks he was more interested in protecting North Carolina tobacco from Cuban tobacco. In other words, he wanted me to never smoke a Cuban cigar just so his constituents wouldn't have to worry about competition.

And, not only that, but he hung on to the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for years when my main man Richard Lugar should have had that job. (Can you imagine what might have not happened on 9/11 and then in Iraq if we had spent the mid- to late-1990s with someone steering that committee who was interested in things like practical plans for cooperating with other countries to account for and control weapons of mass destruction and preventing terrorist cells from capturing the hearts and minds of large populations?) Lugar, who is no doubt the most respected U.S. Senator on foreign policy questions in the second half of the 20th Century was kept from the job he should have had by this grouchy old asshole who got publicly confused over whether the visiting Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was from Pakistan or India, and then couldn't remember how to pronounce the dictator of North Korea's name. (First, he was calling him "King Jong the Second." Then, his staff spelled out the suffix "-Ill" so he started calling him "Kim Jong the Third.) Sorry, no link for reference, that just comes from memories of many hours of C-SPAN watching during that era.

And, make sure to check out the documentary Dear Jesse about a gay guy from the same small town in North Carolina as the late senator. Trailer below.

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