More and more on the legacy of Jesse Helms. I’m not saying he was a bad person or a racist, but he spent years railing against “pinkos” and “Yankees,” thought that Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement were fronts for communism, socialism and sex perversion, and that Social Security was a terrible idea. When Carol Moseley-Braun was elected to the Senate, he sang “Dixie.” He thought that interracial marriages were abominations. He thought that AIDS research was a waste because gay people deserved it. In response to a protest in Mexico he said that “Latins are volatile people…. I was not surprised at the volatile reaction.” He refused to attend a joint session of congress addressed by Nelson Mandela.
Oh, wait, I am saying he was a racist and a bad person.
I’m sure I could find common ground with him on something, at some point. Perhaps I could be convinced that the NEA is probably not the best use of government money, or that kids these days are up to no good. But blocking treaties against the use of land mines? Why not just vote that puppies and kittens should be stomped to death?