Friday, July 04, 2008

Bye-bye, Jesse!

Former five-term U.S. Senator Jesse Helms (R–NC) is dead at the age of 86.

I don't normally approve of speaking ill of the dead, especially the recently deceased. However, Jesse Helms so often went so far out of his way to make so many people's lives more miserable, I'm making an exception. I am unequivocally glad he's dead — the world is truly a better place without him. He was a racist, even against the backdrop of the Deep South, but his bigotry wasn't limited to blacks. In his first Senate campaign, he portrayed his opponent, a Greek-American, as not "one of us." And, of course, he reserved an especial vitriol for "the homosexual agenda." He advocated slashing AIDS research funding because its victims got infected by their own "immoral" conduct — like getting a blood transfusion or having an unfaithful partner or a drug-addicted mother — as if the virus could somehow distinguish the god-fearing from the godless. He came around on the issue of AIDS late in his career, but remained an unrepentant bigot in every other respect.

Jesse Helms won't be here to witness the effects of global warming, but I'm sure he's enjoying that nice warm fire and brimstone. Say hi to Satan for us, Jesse.

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