Friday, July 4, 2008

Helms' face: principle or bigotry?

Jesse Helms defined the face of North Carolina to the nation in the late 20th century, perhaps more so than any other political figure has.

But was that firebrand face one of integrity and principle or one of fear and bigotry?
Here are two conflicting views:
David S. Broder described Helms in 2001 as "the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country." Broder was writing, in part, about Helms' infamous "hands" ad against his Democratic challenger in 1990, former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.
Supporters such as Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-Banner Elk, said this: "Senator Helms was the truest of patriots. His passion for conservative principles and the vigor with which he pursued them was second to none."
Click here to read what other foes and supporters said when he died early today at age 86.
The state’s voters were sharply divided on Helms’ politics, too. His wins were close ones.

What do you think? Did Helms’ face reflect North Carolina?
What is the lasting legacy of having a polarizing, provocative figure represent us for 29 years?


Anonymous said...

He was a bigot who played off the fears of a bunch of less than intelligent people. Sorry the guy is dead but in no way did he represent "North Carolina values," whatever that is... much like the carpetbagger Liddy Dole, who's good at spouting that same garbage. And that's all she's good at.

Jon Golden said...

It has taken NC years to outlive Helms' stain. He not only colored (pun intended) all North Carolinians as backwater racists, but his "sound principles" also damaged our foreign policy. I can't say I am sorry to see him go. He made me sick in life, and his death did nothing to quell that feeling. I only hope that when/if he meets God, He teaches Jesse a lesson in compassion by overlooking his numerous flaws and allowing him into Heaven.

Tom said...

It doesn't matter whether you stand up for what you believe, if what you believe is pure and unfiltered evil.

Jesse Helms will always and forever stand for unabashed racism. Even Thurmond eventually admitted that he was wrong to stand up for oppression and fascism. Helms went to his grave adamantly defending his support of un-American principles.

Wes said...

He was a bigot who played off the fears of a bunch of less than intelligent people.

I find it amusing that you think that over 50% of your fellow NC voters are "less than intelligent people." It's exactly that kind of elitism from the left that kept Jesse Helms in the Senate. LOL.