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July 06, 2008

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I used to think it was a made-up story that Helms, when a radio host, got someone fired from UNC for teaching Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" to undergraduates - but according to this article in Time from 1981, it appears to be pretty much true.

My own view: the world is a better place without him, and I regret that he didn't die decades earlier.

The circle-the-wagons response is a natural one--one I bet tends to be even more natural for those who tend towards the kind of conservatism Helms loved--but it seems to me can't help but being counterproductive in this case, in the long run. Not that that bothers me, at all. The more counterproductive, the better for the rest of us.

Thank you Hilzoy. Helms's death tested my pledge not to trifle with death. I may hate someone, wish he'd go away, but I can't wish or celebrate death. Even Helms's. But there is no reason not to speak ill of those who are/were evil. This post is a grand successor to Billmon. High praise indeed.

I had a minor epiphany when Strom Thurmond said it would have been so much better for the country if Jesse Helms had won the Presidential election. I felt like a great weight lifted off my shoulders, as I said "OK, I'm officially done making excuses for the conservative movement. They keep sounding like mean, racist morons because so many of them ARE."

To steal a line from Helms, "I have had nothing to change my mind about it" since then. To the contrary, the movement keeps confirming my impression.

To be clear, the conservatives I have met average as intelligent as the liberals, and are perfectly nice & tolerant to people they actually deal with personally. But LORD, they keep electing creeps, praising racists, and supporting cruelty. I keep trying to understand the apparent contradiction, but I no longer pretend I'm not seeing it or pretend that the pretty words of their intellectual apologists have much to do with the reality of the movement.

I'm against death, finding it inappropriately final, inconvenient, and deeply non-discriminating, so I wish it on no one.

I wish Helms a longer life -- at least long enough for him to once again sing Dixie in an elevator so that Carol Moseley-Braun can turn around and knee him neatly in the gonads.

Helms was lucky to be born an American -- though he certainly was NOT one of us -- any other provenance would have had him running down streets, going door-to-door, begging for mercy from justice.

We don't butcher our malign clowns, we elect them.


Helms also encouraged government subsidies for an addictive drug, merely because his state was a major producer of said drug.

Sometimes there's a purely utilitarian calculation that makes wishing for somebody's death morally acceptable: Helms supported murderous psychopaths like D'Aubuisson.

I find I need to qualify my comment a bit: I would have preferred it if Helms had come to a realization of the abominable nature of his views, repudiated them, and spent the rest of his life trying to do right. But since he didn't . . . .

Sic Semper Tyrannis.

As others have said elsewhere, I wish he could have lived to suffer through the day that Barack Obama is sworn in as President.

I felt like a great weight lifted off my shoulders, as I said "OK, I'm officially done making excuses for the conservative movement.

Helms didn't represent the conservative movement. He did not represent the libertarian conservative, he did not represent New England conservatism. He represented the racist white Southerner.

Those unrepresented conservatives still exist, left to wander in the desert, but for the greater part, racist white Southernism is all that is left of the Republican party.

America would be better off if it had simply let the South secede - the South is only part of the rest of the nation in the narrowest technical sense. So in a way, the date of his death *is* fitting.

I certainly had no love for the man, and I thought he was a blight on my party. OTOH, I really don’t know what to make of this post so I guess I had better sleep on it.

Helms didn't represent the conservative movement.

OK, now_what, I'll bite. Who do you think represents the conservative movement?

OCSteve: it just seemed to me that they could have said any number of things -- "agree with him or disagree, he certainly fought for what he believed in", etc. But instead all these people are saying: he was a champion of conservatism, an exemplar, etc.

I would never have said that. I would have thought it was grossly unfair to conservatism, like saying that Louis Farrakhan was a liberal champion. But for some reason they did.

I don't know what was done in NC, but in Mississippi, July 4th was the day that Vicksburg fell and up until 1975, my university did not celebrate the holiday. So yeah, it's appropriate.

trilobite: I had a minor epiphany when Strom Thurmond said it would have been so much better for the country if Jesse Helms had won the Presidential election.

When was this?

Or are you mixing up your Southern rightist Senators, and thinking of when Trent Lott said at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday celebration that if ST had won the presidential election (as a Dixiecrat in 1948) "we wouldn't have had all these problems"?

OK, now_what, I'll bite. Who do you think represents the conservative movement?

Nobody does, that was kind of the point. The conservative movement was a marriage of convenience between several viewpoints, some of them with which I can sympathize to a certain extent (fiscal conservatism, distrust of big government, isolationism, separation of church and state, protection of private property), and some of them with which no moral person can ("You start out in 1954 by saying, Nigger, nigger, nigger").

Who is left to represent the former in any meaningful way? Nobody, at the moment, as far as I can tell. Who is left to represent the descendants of the latter? The Republican Party.

Republican commenters: If you want everyone else besides (some) other Republicans to stop thinking of Republicans as bigoted, evil scum, it's up to you to make sure that bigoted evil scum aren't representing you in public office.

On the other hand, I do detect a whiff of "No True Scotsman" about your comments; no true conservative would act the way Helms did... At what point do people making that sort of argument realise that what they're actually arguing is that conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed, and in so arguing are privileging an ideology to the point of willful blindness?

Are there any Republican commenters here?

I guess there's OCSteve, but he took a pass...

Hilzoy: I think that the conservative response to Helms' death ought to settle that debate once and for all.

That’s just a little sweeping I think. I don’t claim Helms any more than I expect you to answer for the extremists on your side. “conservative response” is a bit general, as is the title: “Conservatives And Jesse Helms”.

I’m a conservative – here is my response: Jesse Helms was a racist homophobe. I don’t have much of an opinion about God or heaven or hell – but if there is a hell I hope that a 250 pound black transvestite is Jesse’s roommate for all eternity.

Maybe it’s just the title that got me…

now_what: Are there any Republican commenters here?

Conservative, no longer Republican. ;)

Trilobyte:

I believe the reference you made in your post was actually Trent Lott's ill-conceived comment that Strom Thurmond should have been elected when he ran as a Dixie-crat. That was the excuse used to dump Trent from the post of Senate Majority leader as I recall.

Hilzoy:

But instead all these people are saying: he was a champion of conservatism, an exemplar, etc.

Well, Helms was certainly representative of a particular brand of conservatism -- no one could deny that. To say he was an "icon" or a "champion" of conservative causes is not to say that there's some sort of identity between his views and those of modern conservatism in general.

I wonder if you could be more specific about what you object to in those excerpts -- most of them seem to me to be well in line with what would be appropriate for a public statement without approving of Helms' uglier side.

I especially don't understand why you include Levin's comment, as it specifically lists the causes that Helms fought for that Levin appreciates, and none of them seem particularly odious (though they're certainly not causes that the average liberal would have supported).

OCSteve: I suppose it's probably too late, but when I wrote "why oh why do people think that the Republican party, and/or the conservative movement is bigoted?", I meant the party/movement as institutions, not individual conservatives or Republicans. I had meant to say that more clearly, and actually thought I had, but on rereading it, I see that I didn't.

I'll correct that now.

In any case, that was why I took all those people/magazines/etc. to be illustrative: they really do speak for the party (considered as an organization), or for the movement (ditto), I think. If it had been just one or two of them -- say, the Heritage Foundation and Trent Lott, but no one else -- I wouldn't think that. But there are so many of them.

Off to correct. Thanks for making me realize that I hadn't said what I thought I had. ;)

America would be better off if it had simply let the South secede - the South is only part of the rest of the nation in the narrowest technical sense

As a Southerner, I just can't let that stand unchallenged. Yes, the South has been the source of a lot of evil people, including Jesse Helms; it's also given you, to name a few examples, Mark Twain, Helen Keller, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Martin Luther King, and John Edwards. Would you really have been better off without either the good or the bad?

I don’t claim Helms any more than I expect you to answer for the extremists on your side.


With respect, you don't really matte much, do you? I mean, much as I wish it were otherwise, your influence is far less than that wielded by George Bush, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott, Bob Dole, National Review, The Weekly Standard or The Heritage Foundation. Your influence is certainly less than that wielded by all those groups combined.

If I said that as a liberal, I found legalized abortion to be unacceptable, that wouldn't stop you from saying that liberals are against the criminalization of abortion. I'm not very important after all. To the extent that conservatism is an institution that has leaders and power centers, it can have beliefs (like "Jess Helms is awesome!") that are not shared by all or even a majority of its adherents. You can't really speak on behalf of the larger institution because you don't have any power over it...

kenB: I have to go for a bit, so can't compile an exhaustive list, but in Levin's case, it was "a conservative great", and the stuff about all the smears that were coming. In general, in anything that goes on about what a great conservative he was, it's the 'great conservative' part that astonishes me.

They all omit the stuff about race. I can see doing that without the "great champion of conservative causes" stuff, but with it -- it's as though I said that Mao was a great champion of liberal causes, thinking of, oh, the barefoot doctors, and somehow neglecting either to mention the famine, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and all the rest, or to qualify my general praise because of it.

About Bush's statement, in addition to "kind, decent" (see Moseley Braun incident), this: "tireless advocate for the people of North Carolina" makes me want to say: well, not all of them. Likewise, the idea of Helms as a champion of freedom is a bit much, given that we're talking about someone who opposed basic voting and civil rights for his fellow citizens.

Hilzoy: In any case, that was why I took all those people/magazines/etc. to be illustrative: they really do speak for the party (considered as an organization), or for the movement (ditto), I think.

Yeah, you’re right. Don’t know why I got my hackles up.

Turb: You’re correct of course (as you usually are).

As a Southerner, I just can't let that stand unchallenged. Yes, the South has been the source of a lot of evil people, including Jesse Helms; it's also given you, to name a few examples, Mark Twain

Neither Hannibal, Missouri nor Florida, Missouri are, or ever were, in the South, by any reasonable definition of the South.

The rest of them you can have, they would have existed no matter where a border was drawn, but feel free to claim them as Southerners.

But a town 100 miles north of St. Louis is not "the South".

hilzoy:

Well, I think the comparison to Mao is rather instructive -- for liberals, Helms was an enemy, and so liberals naturally see very little good in him and will focus on his worst traits. Any praise of Helms will grate and will seem to paper over his faults.

But Helms' record consists of more than just race-baiting and homosexual-hating (as Levin's words suggest). He was an effective conservative warrior also for causes that are even now not considered to be obviously hateful. On the occasion of his death, it's utterly unsurprising for leading Republican and conservative voices to speak well of him and not spend too much time looking at his less savory words and deeds. That doesn't mean that they support everything he supported.

Norvin: ... it [the South]'s also given you, ...

Jazz.

On the whole, I'd say preserving the Union was a good idea, despite the cost. Lately there's cause to doubt, though, whether a nation so conceived can long endure (with its ideals intact).

I am for death... for the likes of myself as well as Jesse Helms. I make no excuses for dear old Jesse, and I hope none will make any excuses for me. I have done the best I could with my sons (I am sure Jesse, in what ever twisted world he lived in, thought the same)

But he is gone... the world is a better place without him.

Death awaits us all, as it always has, as it always will, as it always should....

I wonder... will the world be better off without me?

now_what -- Take note of the Missouri Compromise. According to Wikipedia "The 15 slave states at the time of the Civil War were Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia (including West Virginia but West Virginia hadn't separated from Virginia at that time). (The District of Columbia also had slavery prior to the Civil War.) Though not states, slavery was practiced in the Nebraska Territory and in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) as early as the 1850s."

The South may have "given us" Faulkner, etc--but the fact that I appreciate British authors doesn't mean that I regret the Declaration of Independence. That is, the fact that the evil people like Helms took part in running my country cannot be offset by the fact that some Southerners produced art. Art can be exported.

kenB: He was anti-communist. Goody: so was I. But what anticommunism seemed to mean, to him, was supporting a lot of people whom it was hard to see as in any way better than their opponents. (Savimbi? Renamo?) It is very hard for me to see supporting Savimbi as striking a blow for liberty. It certainly wasn't for the half million or so Angolans who died in that civil war.

He was pro-life; fine.

He was anti-NEA -- is that the conservative big deal that accounts for all that praise?

But his big policies, along with anti-communism, were blocking anything to do with blacks or gays.

It wasn't a minor bit of his career, outshone by a host of other glories.

Would you really have been better off without either the good or the bad?

I'm pretty sure that if the North had let the South secede, it would not have systematically killed of every living being in the South. I would expect that two nations sharing a long border and a common language would have a great deal of trade in goods, writings and ideas. We'd still have Faulkner.

Mr. Helms was popular with voters in his home state. They must have seen something beyond the racial component. I don't know what was in his heart, but his voting record and political position on the issues of the times are unambiguous. It would be fair to say, he was the conservative's conservative.

Conservatism, in its true form, is the true path to real civilization. Conservatism sometimes gets hijacked but that doesn't lessen its appeal to me, nor should it be used by others to criticize it. No matter how popular the hijacking has become.

Now, replace conservatism with Islam, Christianity, liberalism, etc. Imagine, as a true believer of any of these, how you would probably accept the above notion. And then imagine how, as an outsider, you might not.

I used to have the same type of discussion with my fundamentalist brother, who couldn't understand my objection to his elevation of Christianity to the highest level of human achievement. I'd mention Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and so on, and he'd claim they weren't real Christians. Somehow their parishes, numbering in the thousands, were wrong, while his parish, often numbering one, was right. So to find the real Christianity I should ignore all the radio stations, all the mega-churches, all the Catholics and the Orthodox, and simply look to him.

We don't discuss this any more.

Who is left to represent the former in any meaningful way? Nobody, at the moment, as far as I can tell. Who is left to represent the descendants of the latter? The Republican Party.

I feel your pain, sort of, but somebody voted for all of those creeps. It sure as hell wasn't me.

America would be better off if it had simply let the South secede

Actually, I think America would have been better off had we continued a vigorous military occupation of the South for at least one full generation. Probably two.

We didn't leave Germany until "Nazi" was a dirty word. We should have done the same with the South.

Thanks -

When I read the headline I thought about Clarence Darrow's comment, which went something like this: "I never wanted to see anybody die, but there are a few obituary notices I have read with pleasure."

On the occasion of his death, it's utterly unsurprising for leading Republican and conservative voices to speak well of him and not spend too much time looking at his less savory words and deeds. That doesn't mean that they support everything he supported.


Of course not. And it is absolutely, perfectly understandable that perfectly decent conservatives would focus on the good that he did for non-evil causes within conservatism.

I take Hilzoy's point to be not that this makes them bad people, but that it makes them appear to be making common cause with someone who, whatever else they may have done, fought his entire life to preserve some of the nation's greatest evils.

There are deeds a person can commit that are so malignant, they drown out whatever positives that person has achieved in their life. When that point is reached, any attempt to make a "positive sandwich," to gloss over the negatives in order to call attention to the positives, comes across to other decent people as making excuses for evil. Adolf Hitler was a decent painter, a decorated veteran of WWI, a gifted orator, and a passionate patriot who led Germany to become an economic and military superpower, albeit briefly. But these are not the things for which he is remember, nor should they be. Hitler is remembered for the evils that he committed on this earth, for the millions of people whose lives were irrevocably and horribly changed or ended as a result of his actions.

Helms was not Hitler. His evils are several orders of magnitude less than that man's. But that does not make them any less evil in their own right, and it does not minimize the harm inflicted upon millions of people's lives as a result of Helms's political career. Eulogizing Helms by praising his lifetime of accomplishments only makes the person so eulogizing seem like an apologist for evil. And when conservative luminaries, prominent pundits, and the President of the United States--Republicans all--demonstrate in one unified voice that they are apologists for evil, this sends a message to American blacks: The Republican Party embraces Jesse Helms and what he stood for. The Republican Party embraces racism. The Republican Party doesn't care about you; indeed, we would prefer to go back to a time when you were second-class citizens, even property.

This may not be true. It's certainly not true of vast numbers of perfectly decent Republicans.

But the next time someone smears you with that stereotype, remember that it's not their fault you're viewed that way. It's the fault of those who represent you, those who are your party's public face. And ultimately, some of you share that blame for continuing to elect them.

Think about it.

But what anticommunism seemed to mean, to him, was supporting a lot of people whom it was hard to see as in any way better than their opponents. (Savimbi? Renamo?) It is very hard for me to see supporting Savimbi as striking a blow for liberty.

OK, so you disagreed with him, as did I. But this is a typical political disagreement -- why would you expect Republicans to repudiate him for this? They made a different evaluation of the pluses and minuses of Communist governments vs. other types of unsavory leaders. This doesn't strike me as an obvious moral failure.

But his big policies, along with anti-communism, were blocking anything to do with blacks or gays.

I don't want to push this much more, because I certainly had no love for the man, but I will point out that terms like "big policies" and "minor bit" are relative judgments. Just because they may be the most salient bits to you (and me) and you're inclined to interpret them in their worst light doesn't mean that all these mouthpieces of conservatism meant to endorse that particular reading of those particular policies when they praised him at his death.

"I had a minor epiphany when Strom Thurmond said it would have been so much better for the country if Jesse Helms had won the Presidential election."

How's that? When did Jesse Helms run for president?

Are you possibly thinking of Trent Lott saying this of Strom Thurmond's 1948 Dixicrat run?

"I wish Helms a longer life -- at least long enough for him to once again sing Dixie in an elevator so that Carol Moseley-Braun can turn around and knee him neatly in the gonads."

Mosely-Braun was in the Senate from January 5, 1993 – January 3, 1999. And Helms left the Senate on January 3, 2003. It's not a matter of their not having had time, but not having been in been in the same place for quite some time, and I rather doubt either would have wanted it otherwise.

Well, I think the comparison to Mao is rather instructive -- for liberals, Helms was an enemy, and so liberals naturally see very little good in him and will focus on his worst traits. Any praise of Helms will grate and will seem to paper over his faults.

But Helms' record consists of more than just race-baiting and homosexual-hating (as Levin's words suggest).

So if someone praises Mao for his various good works, or praises Stalin for being our ally in WWII, and praises his efforts forwarding, say, women's rights, and the equality of the races, and in making health care available, then you'd not raise an eyebrow, and not say a word, and not have any problem at all with that?

Really?

How about if someone writes about the virtues of Castro's health care and work in spreading education, and in helping people throughout the Third World?

No problem? After all, the record of all three consists of more than just their negative side, right?

"I would expect that two nations sharing a long border and a common language would have a great deal of trade in goods, writings and ideas. We'd still have Faulkner."

That's not a falsifiable hypothesis; for all we know, any number of possible circumstances in that alternative history could have led to the death of his mother or father before he was born, and certainly would have, at least, led to him having a different life, producing different experiences and different ideas in his mind, and thus his producing different work, assuming he did live, and assuming he was in circumstances that led him to both desire to be a writer, and to be able to.

Quite a huge string of "ifs" involved.

"Mr. Helms was popular with voters in his home state. They must have seen something beyond the racial component."

Why?

And: they must have, at least, been able to not care enough about the "racial component." What does that say?

Similarly, not all voters for David Duke were for him solely on issues of race, and not all voters for [GODWIN] voted on issues of antisemitism; does that mean we should applaud those voters?

"I don't know what was in his heart, but his voting record and political position on the issues of the times are unambiguous."

True.

"It would be fair to say, he was the conservative's conservative."

I think you mean "It would be fair to say he was the conservative's conservative."

KenB: my initial impression is that your post reads like an exercise at the end of Chapter I in the Apologism 101 course: "never refer to detractors as repudiating but disagreeing" with the target, for instance. And my 2nd impression is that your concessions and modifiers ("I had no love for the man") separate you from the true Helm apologists.

What Catsy said at 10:57 PM.

"But this is a typical political disagreement"

No, it's vile racial hatred, and racism of one of the most powerful men in America, no less evil that straightforward Nazism.

If you regard that as within the bounds of decent political "disagreement," something about which fairminded people of good will might reasonable disagree -- that one set of people are "racially inferior" to another, and should be kept under -- I disagree with you.

"This doesn't strike me as an obvious moral failure."

It strikes me as nothing but.

"Just because they may be the most salient bits to you (and me) and you're inclined to interpret them in their worst light doesn't mean that all these mouthpieces of conservatism meant to endorse that particular reading of those particular policies when they praised him at his death."

And [GODWIN] led the [GODWIN] nation to greatness. High praise for [GODWIN] with no mention of any flaws certainly doesn't endorse [GODWIN]'s less attractive policies, does it? Why should anyone look askance at speeches that praise [GODWIN]'s more attractive qualities on, say, the anniversary of his death, or birthday?

That's your argument, right? Or what's the difference in your argument that I'm not spotting?

Yeah, I think racial hatred and bigotry are kinda evil. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Perhaps a more current, and less fraught, example would be if Robert Mugabe dropped dead tomorrow, and I wrote a post/comment lauding Mugabe for his fine life and work in liberating Zimbabwe from white racism, and building his country one that was strongly independent, rebuilding the pride of his people in themselves. And that's all I had to say about Mugabe. You wouldn't object at all, ken? No problem with that?

Gary: something about your post makes me anticipate Jon Swift's "tribute" to Helms with great delight. Leave it to him (her?) to take apologizing for the unapologizable to a heretofore unexperienced level of giddiness.

OR, put still another way: "but Helms also did some good things" is rather the ultimate case of "otherwise how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln," isn't it? That which cannot be excused, ignored, overcome, compensated for, or willed away.

"But this is a typical political disagreement"

No, it's vile racial hatred,

Gary, perhaps you could read a bit more closely before you go on the attack -- that bit was referring to hilzoy's description of Helms's anti-communism.

As for the rest -- if you're all determined to see Helms as not just wrong but eeeviiill, and to condemn all those who praise him as apologists for eeeviiill, do you include Joe Biden and John Edwards in that assessment? Or is it OK if you're a Democrat?

I trust ole Jesse is in some goatfukkers heaven - where he's the goat

As a native North Carolinian, I remember the days running up to the 1984 election, when Helms repeatedly warned about his opponent Jim Hunt's plans to encourage the "bloc vote" to come out against him. He claimed that Hunt was going to send out schoolbuses to bring the "bloc vote" to the polls. Every one of his election campaigns prominently featured racist appeals.

Far from being universally popular, Helms was a divisive figure in North Carolina politics; he is the man who made this Southerner a lifelong Democrat.

Can speak for all, but letting Sens. (and you know Sens., they're rather like ambassadors, engaging in that super-polite collegial speech) speak for me would be akin to saying mainstream pundits and hosts - like, say Matthews, or even the unabashedly liberal Olbermann - speak for me.

As for Ken - seems I owe you an apology. You are a true Helms apologist, if you do speak for yourself. Where DID you dig up that NY Observer article?


russell | July 06, 2008 at 10:54 PM

America would be better off if it had simply let the South secede

Actually, I think America would have been better off had we continued a vigorous military occupation of the South for at least one full generation. Probably two.

We didn't leave Germany until "Nazi" was a dirty word. We should have done the same with the South.

Thanks -

Russel - about Reconstruction history ...

It took a good 20-25 years to institute the bulk of Jim Crow laws, and during much of that time, the North was at least as, and in many ways far more, overtly racist and oppressive as the South.

Getting rid of slavery was seen as a moral and Christian imperative. Getting rid of racism was not the sort of thing that crossed people's minds a hell of a lot back then.

The Plessy decision (in 1896 - 30 years after the Civil War) did not arise unforseen out of whole cloth - it was a statement of the majority opinion and reasoning of the country of the time.

I'd like to take up a collection to send Fred Phelps' inbred family to heckle Helms' funeral. For once it's justified.

D'oh!

Yep, gettin' my players mixed up w/out my scorecard. Sorry, I did indeed mean Trent Lott & Strom Thurmond, not Thurmond & Helms. Glad y'all figured out who I meant to say. I go sleep now, fix brain...

If now_what means 'movement conservatism' in its Buckley, Heritage, Bradley-Scaife-Olin & Human Events sense, that's a fair point -- though perhaps only because movementarians tended to dress Helms's ideological tenets in abstract language and adorn it with a different accent.

"As for the rest -- if you're all determined to see Helms as not just wrong but eeeviiill, and to condemn all those who praise him as apologists for eeeviiill, do you include Joe Biden and John Edwards in that assessment?"

a) I don't condemn all who praise him, but all who praise him unreservedly.

b) I don't expect anyone to be denounced at their funeral, nor condemn anyone who doesn't denounce someone at their funeral.

c) the topic was conservatives praising him as one of their own, unreservedly, and thus, as Hilzoy put it, giving grounds for "people [to] think that the Republican party, and/or the conservative movement, is bigoted?" The point is that this doesn't seem to do the conservative movement any favors, any more than any of the rest of the lauding of conservative history that was inextricably racist (such as the history of National Review, and, gee, just about all conservative politicians of the era, during the era of Jim Crow, through the Sixties, if not later). As it happens, liberals were opposed to racism, and conservatives defended it. If that's embarrassing, well, shucks, maybe it's something to give some thought as to why that happened, rather than simply either being defensive about it, or ignoring it or denying it.

So: 1) Joe Biden didn't praise Helms unreservedly, even in the few quoted words ("'Jesse, I love you,' said Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, one of three Democrats who took part. 'I think you're dead wrong on the issues, ... but I'm going to miss you being here'"): so, in fact, Biden specifically denounced Helms' views. But I guess that's not ok if you're a conservative.

Which was Hilzoy's point.

I don't see a transcript of Edwards' full remarks, but the News-Observer in fact specifically states that he wasn't unreserved: "Helms' Democratic colleague from North Carolina, Sen. John Edwards, was more contained in his praise of Helms than some."

Hope this answers your questions satisfactorily. Now that I've answered yours, perhaps you might do me the courtesy of responding to my specific questions? Thanks!

"Where DID you dig up that NY Observer article?"

That's the Raleigh News-Observer, the paper of the capital of North Carolina, the town I now, rather to my surprise, find myself living in as of a handful of months ago.

If I'd realized Jesse Helms was living across town, and was about to die, I might have made a special trip last week to shake my fist outside his window, or something. Probably not, but the impulse would have been there.

And before you ask, Ken, yes, when Robert Byrd dies, I'll condemn his long-past racism, too.

Before ending this comment, I'd like to pause to give the horselaugh to this typical bs: "During his remarks, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott ticked off a laundry list of issues on which he said Helms' views might have seemed out of step at first but are 'now the mainstream in American political thought.' Among them: smaller government, lower taxes, opposition to abortion and 'an American-centered foreign policy.'"

First of all, "smaller government" has been in the mainstream of U.S. politics since the days of George Washington, as has "bigger government": the tension between the two has always explicitly been there, and explicitly argued in every Congress and every Presidency.

Secondly, no one has ever run on the notion that higher taxes will be popular. The idea that it has ever been otherwise is so insane as to be yet another in the endless series of Republican Big Lies.

Lastly, the same must be said of the notion that the politics of American foreign policy has ever favored running against, you know, favoring America. The idea is so effing idiotic that it's hard not to fall off one's chair laughing, if only it was funny, and wasn't another Big Lie, whose sole intent is to smear That Other Party as favoring these lunatic positions ("we're for the foreign policy that hurts America, and we want to raise your taxes just because we like to!").

That's not honest politics: that's just lying like a rug.

But I'll give Trent Lott and his ilk this: they're consistent.

trilobite: "Glad y'all figured out who I meant to say."

No prob; sorry for the pile-on; thanks for the clarification.

Quite a lot of people managed to be anti-communist and opposed to death squads, on any continent. And as a special bonus, also opposed to fascist regimes whether Catholic or secular. That Helms, like a great many other prominent American conservatives, never managed the trick is one more mark to his discredit, as he had not just the theoretical knowledge but the practical demonstration that it was possible. As it is, he was in a position much like being anti-torture but pro-rape.

I think the comparison to Mao is rather instructive

Actually, what we would need would be some domestic elected politician from the left that has wrought as much damage as Helms was able to to make the comparison make sense. That I can think of no one who might qualify says something about the US political scene.

The best thing you Americans could to do honor the much lamented death of Mr. Helm is to repeal the Helms-Burton act.

And the travel ban for HIV positives.

-- a foreigner

now_what: America would be better off if it had simply let the South secede

In the sense that millions of Americans would have remained slaves?

now_what: The conservative movement was a marriage of convenience between several viewpoints, some of them with which I can sympathize to a certain extent (fiscal conservatism, distrust of big government, isolationism, separation of church and state, protection of private property)

It is news to me that conservatives support the separation of church and state: isn't that very much the liberal viewpoint? Aren't the people who support banning gay civil marriage, posting the 10 Commandments in state buildings, "under God" in the pledge of allegience and other forms of public prayer in schools, state-supported Islamophobia, invariably conservatives - and the people who actively go out of their way oppose these kind of things equally invariably left-wingers?

(The rest of your list seems to be more part of the conservative self-image than anything else, but I wasn't aware that "separation of church and state" was even on the self-image list.)

In the sense that millions of Americans would have remained slaves?

They did anyway.

It is news to me that conservatives support the separation of church and state

Which is sad, really. You could at least take the time to know your enemy.

>>As for the rest -- if you're all determined to see Helms as not just wrong but eeeviiill, and to condemn all those who praise him as apologists for eeeviiill, do you include Joe Biden and John Edwards in that assessment? Or is it OK if you're a Democrat?

I think Gary has answered this more than satisfactorily, but it makes me wonder a few things:

Has Obama said a word about Helms's death? (I couldn't find anything through google news.)

If he doesn't, will Fox and friends try to use it against him? Or would even those folks automatically give him a pass?

And, as a thought experiment, if Obama said something like, "He was a conservative icon," would the kind of conservatives currently saying similar things go ballistic, assuming (as I would) a quietly snarky irony?

In short, kenB, it *is* different if a Democrat says it.

now_what: They did anyway.

You should study up your American history a bit.

Which is sad, really. You could at least take the time to know your enemy.

You should study up your contemporary American politics a bit, too, evidently, if you honestly believe that banning gay civil marriage, posting the 10 Commandments in state buildings, "under God" in the pledge of allegience and other forms of public prayer in schools, state-supported Islamophobia, are none of them conservative positions.

I held my nose and read through the RedState comment thread, and while there's a tiny handful of "idiots" who stepped up and pointed out he was a racist, most of the commenters are wholehearted bigots who approve Helms' racist opinions - and the "idiots" one and all got dumped on.

(And the intellectual dishonesty involved in linking to this news story simply as "Elizabeth Edwards said her husband was just like Helms" has to be read to be believed.)

Jes, not to give the slightest support to conservative propaganda, but the claim that a lot of blacks remained slaves, or were reenslaved, is basically true in faction. Slavery Under Another Name is a profoundly unsettling read, thoroughly documented and carefully put. It's given me nightmares.

What now_what doesn't say, of course, is that it would inevitably have been worse in an independent Confederacy.

liberal japonicus: Actually, what we would need would be some domestic elected politician from the left that has wrought as much damage as Helms was able to to make the comparison make sense.

I suppose if you allowed international comparisons, George Galloway might work as a comparator. I don't in all honesty perceive him to be as bad as Helms in most respects - but he is undoubtedly a prominent figure on the left of British politics whom I would have a hard time writing a wholly positive obituary about: he's been attacked on false grounds (financial corruption) but there is plenty of room to attack him on perfectly accurate grounds, too. (And I speak as someone who stood listening to him at multiple peace demos in 2003, and got to the point where I really, really wanted the organisers to just quit inviting him.)

Bruce: Jes, not to give the slightest support to conservative propaganda, but the claim that a lot of blacks remained slaves, or were reenslaved, is basically true in faction. Slavery Under Another Name is a profoundly unsettling read, thoroughly documented and carefully put. It's given me nightmares.

I haven't (yet) read "Slavery Under Another Name" but I had read multiple other sources about the status and treatment of black Americans in both Confederate and Union states, long after the Civil War. From black sharecroppers who were forced to both sell their output to their landowner and buy their supplies from their landowner, to Nichelle Nichols being denied a two-year contract to play Uhura because Paramount had never given a black actress anything but short-term paid-by-the-hour work: from the black men who were accused and lynched because a white man wanted their property, to a black female lawyer being routinely followed by store detectives because they assume if a black woman is in an expensive store it's to shoplift.

But now_what's assertion comes close to arguing that being legally free made no difference at all to the Americans who had been property to be bought and sold. And that, from all I've read, was not so.

Did anyone notice the quote from George Bush that Hilzoy posted? It appears that your president actually told the truth about Mr. Helms (possibly by accident):

And today, from Central America to Central Europe and beyond, people remember: in the dark days when the forces of tyranny seemed on the rise, Jesse Helms took their side.

I can certainly remember Helms taking the side of the forces of tyranny; more than once, in fact.

Which raises the question: does Mr. Bush now insist on writing his own tributes, in defiance of the rules of English grammar, and in ignorance of irony, or (at the end of his terms) has the truth started leaking out past the dark side of the force?

Hilzoy,

I agree with the majority of this post, but do you think you are a bit harsh to include John McCain. According to the source you link, the entirity of his remarks were:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Senator Jesse Helms. At this time, let us remember a life dedicated to serving this nation. ”

That's about as neutral a comment as could be made -- sympathay for the family and remember a life. "Remember" not "praise" or "give thanks for " or "applaud". It's hard to imagine anyone on the same side of the aisle giving a less positive remark; anything less starts becoming insulting (not that Helms wouldn't deserve that, but you can't fault McCain for not speaking ill of the dead)

I suppose if you allowed international comparisons, George Galloway might work as a comparator.

George Galloway (like Tony Benn and Arthur Scargill and other 'loony lefties') can be extraordinarily irritating and embarassing to leftwingers/liberals who may share some of their views, but in a less extreme form.
But none of them have been really influential in the UK. They've made speeches, but not laws or policies. Whereas Helms did have real influence in the US.

Jes: I was having a moment of charitable reading, probably unwarranted. :)

Realistically, the only thing that would have prevented the Jim Crow era is the equivalent of de-Nazification in Germany, an occupation long and forceful enough to truly shatter the old networks of power and protect alternatives as they got established. The work of two generations, likely, and one that would have had a high toll in executions of traitors and other criminals.

Still, the long-term gain might well have been worth it, trading 1-2 decades of greater hardship for 6 or so better ones since.

I note on the side that I find the unwillingness to admit defeat on the merits baffling. It seems odd to say "I wish the South were as pragmatic as post-Nazi Germany", but there you go, I do. The German people were willing to say "we gave it a shot and it failed because it was just plain broken in some ways", and to concede that the victors had actually organized and fought a better war. Whatever quality of soul it is that makes that recognition possible, I wish we could put it in the water supply.

Contrary to Hilzoy, I thought John McCain's comment was neutral -- even cool -- on Helms' passing: "At this time, let us remember a life dedicated to serving this nation."

As for the subject itself: I'm no conservative, and folks like Jesse Helms are the reason. Helms embodied the worst aspects of the Republican party.

Yup, I suppose McCain's words were the minimum, pretty much.

But I miss the mythical McCain of years past who might have declared: "Today, we are one less cracker dumbass closer to America's founding ideals. My friends, remember this: Martin Luther King got a bullet and a begrudged holiday for his troubles. Helms was permitted a full life and a peaceful death in bed."

"I'd like Bono to explain God's mercy in THAT arrangement. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need three drinks to start killing the bug that crawled up the Republican Party's exit poll all those years ago."

I think that a conservative is a person who believes in providing equal opportunity to as many people as possible, given the intrinsic tribal wiring of the human mind, which we can deny all we want.

My first experience with the negative effects of nurturing idealism came six months after college, when my leadership chain chopped from a civilian-led branch of the military (DoD) to a demanding technical command.

The technical command had designed a system whereby a series of screens were established for graduates of good engineering schools: 70% were accepted for interviews (DoD controlled); 30% failure at college interviews (DoD controlled); 30% failure at initial academics (screening technically controlled here on out); 10% failure at prototype; 5% failure in practice; 10% failure at leadership qualification; 40% failure at final qualification. The process was designed to ensure that men were thoroughly screened for ability before they were allowed to assume an important position.

The DoD screenings produced 13 black candidates out of a class of one hundred, in proportion to national demographics. The technical screening failed out 12 of the 13 within the first few months, and sent the 13th home nine months later. I don’t know how the technical screening could be termed racist because it consisted of numerical analysis of math, physics, and chemistry.

The men who failed out were good guys who were probably permanently scarred from the social engineering experiment in which they were used as cannon fodder. You should have seen their faces when they were forced to empty their desks in front of the class and leave, just like their white counterparts.

I’d consider myself to be a conservative. If that becomes impossible, I’ll probably go NAMOLDI Muslim (hi katherine :P). My opinion is that hate is bad. But hate is no worse than segregating people based on the color of their skin, in order for well-meaning but ignorant people to practice social engineering for their own selfish purposes. We should be allowed to judge men on the content of their character.

I have commitments in twenty minutes and will not be able to respond after that.

Jesse Helms became known as a Conservative when Nixon was consolidating his strategy of converting southern whites from the Democratic Party to the Republicans under the banner of states rights and the silent majority. Knowing as Nixon did that no one was a stronger supporter of the military than the southern families who sent huge numbers of their sons into the military, these southerners were people who had grown up in a segregated racist society and nobody was happier or faster to fan the fires of racial and social discontent than Helms. There are few men, in the last fifty years of our nation's history, who have caused this country more unnecessary pain, more ridicule or heartbreak than this unrepentant racist and his uninformed stupidity. And should you wonder about my background, about why I should take the time and trouble to write this note, I am an old white military veteran who watched Helms, for all the years of his mis-begotten political life, deny the humanity of his fellow citizens-the very people among whom he had been raised-simply in order to feel superior to someone. Helms was, in no respect, a man to be honored.

I think that a conservative is a person who believes in providing equal opportunity to as many people as possible, given the intrinsic tribal wiring of the human mind, which we can deny all we want.

Well, *I* think a conservative is a person who wants to conserve something, to keep something the same. There is no one core conservative value except stability.

The conservative problem is that our society is intrinsically unstable: technological change, if nothing else, means that major parts of our lives *will* change, like it or not. So conservatives have to pick what aspect of society/culture/politics they want to keep stable, realizing that "all of the above" is not an option.

"Providing equal opportunity" is not intrinsically conservative unless you think equality of opportunity already exists to be conserved. Even if it does, I don't see how that is more truly conservative and stability-ensuring than efforts to maintain a status quo in any other area of life.

It took a good 20-25 years to institute the bulk of Jim Crow laws, and during much of that time, the North was at least as, and in many ways far more, overtly racist and oppressive as the South.

Still is, to my eye.

Back to the history.

From about 1866 until 1877, most of the former confederate states operated under martial law, as part of a handful of military districts. During that time, blacks increased in literacy, obtained the vote, and began to enjoy the basic benefits of citizenship.

This was, of course, resisted, both politically and by force. The latter is called an "insurrection", and deserved a response in kind, that is, a military response. To some degree, it received one, but not enough to rub it out.

In 1877, a disputed Presidential election was resolved by a back-room agreement that Hayes would pull federal troops out of the south.

From then until the mid-20th century, blacks were, de facto, less than full citizens of this country. They were denied the vote, discriminated against both by law and in fact in every conceivable way, and were subject to campaigns of systematic, brutal terror. This was true throughout the country, but especially so in the former confederacy.

Continuing the military occupation of the south for another generation or more would not have eliminated people's hatred of blacks. Nothing will do that, because humans are very often ignorant and stupid. Stubbornly so.

It would, however, have helped prevent the institutionalization of that hatred into law. And it would have stemmed the emergence of racist terrorism as a means of political control.

I call both of those things unalloyed goods. YMMV.

The cult of the confederacy should have been crushed like the foul bug that it was. It was not, and it's still with us today. Helms was only one of its spokesmen.

Thanks -

But hate is no worse than segregating people based on the color of their skin, in order for well-meaning but ignorant people to practice social engineering for their own selfish purposes.

I think there is something to this. I'm not sure the "selfish" part is always deserved, but certainly well-meaning schemes gang often agley.

As an alternative to social programs that seek to mitigate the effects of racism, I'd be happy to see a concerted effort to address racism itself.

Here's my simple proposal.

If it's found that you denied someone a job because of their race, creed, color, etc., they get your job. If that's not appropriate due to differences in skill set, etc., you keep your job, but they get your money.

If it's found that you denied someone a mortgage for any of the above, you buy them a house, or they get your house.

If it's found that you pay someone differently because of any of the above, you make up the difference out of your own pocket.

And so on. It's a pretty simple program, it should be obvious how to roll this out for whatever case presents itself.

You should like this program, Bill, because it coddles neither the victim, nor the perpetrator, of racist discrimination. More liberal approaches can be accused of 'coddling' both.

Thanks -

You should study up your contemporary American politics a bit, too, evidently, if you honestly believe that banning gay civil marriage, posting the 10 Commandments in state buildings, "under God" in the pledge of allegience and other forms of public prayer in schools, state-supported Islamophobia, are none of them conservative positions.

Let's not forget creationism and the various "academic freedom" bills that are creeping into several states' laws...

I've heard a story that when the University of North Carolina admitted their first African-American student, a young and not yet famous Helms proclaimed UNC "The University of N______ and Communists."

Rick Perlstein adds this, from the AP, March 29, 1973:

"Hose down streakers, Helms says

WASHINGTON, March 29—Sen. Jesse Helms has seriously suggeste that college streakers be herded naked into football stadiums, hosed down with cold water from time to time, and held in that state overnight.

In a column which Helms sent this week to North Caolina newspapers, he said the streaking fad was 'far more serious than youthful frivolity' and was cause for concern about the country's future.

"In my judgment college authorities ought to take all the naked students into custody and herd them into a football stadium under guard and then require them to spend the night naked unti their mothers come and request their release.

"It might be useful to hose down the streakers with cold water every 15 or 20 minutes.""

"I'm against death"

That's like saying, "I'm against heat" or "I'm against Winter." It makes absolutely no sense! Do you really think that, if enough people are "against" it, it will go away? This is the sort of sophomoric statement I would expect to hear from a spoiled-brat conservative. Get real!

Stephen, you've changed my mind, you realist, you!

O.K. o.k., Death is one of my favorite things, just ahead of heat, but not as bad as winter.

What about sex after Death? Can we agree on that, or am I again asking too much?

Russell, Hilzoy, Jes, someone, anyone, catch Stephen up on my modus operandi.

I'm heading out now to purchase a burial plot. Maybe I'll just jump in the hole with my crackers and cheese.

"hate is no worse than segregating people based on the color of their skin"

How is it not the exact same thing? How is "hate" not that which is manifest in "segregation"?

kudos to the person who suggested that the WaPo reprint this Broder column

Russell, Hilzoy, Jes, someone, anyone, catch Stephen up on my modus operandi.

I dunno, I'm inclined to let him figure it out himself.

In my judgment college authorities ought to take all the naked students into custody and herd them into a football stadium under guard and then require them to spend the night naked

"Please don't throw me into the brier patch".

Russell, Hilzoy, Jes, someone, anyone, catch Stephen up on my modus operandi.

What to say?

Maybe Wisdom Of The Desert Fathers as delivered by Buster Keaton?

Stephen, welcome to the world of Thullen, zen master of the funnybone. Laugh, then understand. Then, laugh.

Thanks -

Jesse helms was an exemplar of the consevative movement!The pary of the greedy the bigots and wackos.Oliver North,G,Gordon Liddy and Carl Rove are also heros.What more does one need to know?

russell: From then until the mid-20th century, blacks were, de facto, less than full citizens of this country. They were denied the vote, discriminated against both by law and in fact in every conceivable way, and were subject to campaigns of systematic, brutal terror.

A new book documents the return of slavery by another name in the period from 1900-1940. At least 100,000 and probably twice that number of African-American men in the south were imprisoned for invented "crimes" like vagrancy and sold to farms and industries for years on end. Some Northern-owned companies profited handsomely from this system as well.

The author is a Wall Street Journal reporter and southerner. From another interview:

there's no way that anybody can read this book and come away still wondering why there is a sort of fundamental cultural suspicion among African-Americans of the judicial system, for instance. I mean, that suspicion is incredibly well-founded.

The judicial system, the law enforcement system of the South became primarily an instrument of coercing people into labor and intimidating blacks away from their civil rights. That was its primary purpose, not the punishment of lawbreakers.

A year and a half ago in an ObWi thread, Slartibartfast and I and others had a discussion about felon disenfranchisement laws, and whether they were racist in intent as well as effect. This kind of history puts the burden of proof on those arguing against racist intent.

Directly on the thread topic: I'm sorry Jesse Helms didn't live to see Barack Obama become president of the United States. If there's a hell, he'll get to see the inauguration in HD, with The Battle Hymn of the Republic playing in surround sound.

Apologies for redundancy; I missed seeing that Slavery By Another Name had already been brought up on the thread. In my defense: additional links!

The priorities of the United States, after the Civil War was White unity. A great book on the subject:

Observing the drift of American culture during the 1880s, Albion Tourgee, an abolitionist and keen observer of southern life, grumbled that “our literature has become not only Southern in type but distinctly Confederate in sympathy.”(1) He understood sooner than many of his contemporaries that white southerners had lost the war but were winning the peace. He also knew what this development would mean for the nation's future. Any prospects for racial justice in the United States were stillborn as long as the overwhelming majority of African Americans lived in the South and white southerners retained a de facto veto over the country's racial policies. More broadly, campaigns for social justice had to either accommodate the reactionary politics that prevailed in the South or attempt to overcome them. National reconciliation on such terms effectively foreclosed many potentially progressive paths for American society for at least three-quarters of a century.

[...]

Edward J. Blum's Reforging the White Republic is an ambitiously conceived book that does much more than explain how white southerners won the postbellum peace. Blum insists that the failure of Reconstruction should be traced to American religious institutions and values. Situating his work at the interstices of recent scholarship on historical memory, nationalism, and cultural history, he convincingly argues that an amalgam of “whiteness, godliness, and American nationalism” came to define not only postwar Protestantism but also the United States. With obvious regret, Blum traces “how whites claimed a new national solidarity at the expense of racial reform, how ministers and politicians marshaled religious and white supremacist rhetoric in order to wield social power, and how imperialism wrapped itself in sacred cloth”

More:
Book Review of Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898

...or "I'm against Winter." It makes absolutely no sense! Do you really think that, if enough people are "against" it, it will go away?

Will these Global Warming deniers ever quit?

deitaliacto!

Well, what does a conservative say to defend a man like Helms? I liked the brevity with which McCain responded.
As a matter of fact I feel that his response displayed something that most on the left lack. What is that you might ask?...class!
Granted, I don't believe that McCain shared the venom of Helms and may even be ashamed by him but he had the decency to let the family mourn and the body cool without besmirching the man.
I wonder how the right will act when a revered but flawed liberal icon passes.
Should Rev. Sharpton or Sen. Kennedy go to their final reward will there be teeth gnashing over their polite obituaries or will they handle it with the same tempered class as McCain's response for Helms.
I suppose that time will tell...

otmar: The best thing you Americans could to do honor the much lamented death of Mr. Helm is to repeal the Helms-Burton act.

And the travel ban for HIV positives.

I'm pleased to say that the travel ban may be on its way to oblivion. Sens. Kerry and Smith have cosponsored a bill to end the ban that's part of the reauthorization of AIDS relief funding, nominally favored by Bush and expected to pass (negotiations between Reid and Republican leaders ongoing to forestall histile amendments).

Sorry, that's hostile amendments, from the likes of David Vitter (R-Shameless).

I will grant you that most (I didn't read them all) of the Helms quotes don't show a man who was very, ahem, enlightened. But this one:

"Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life which must be faced."

What's wrong with that, exactly - aside from the fact that it's absolutely true? Blacks have impressively high crime rates. Black murder rates over the years have been anywhere from 7-10 times higher than the white murder rate. Black poverty and misery is largely a function of black behavior, including their 70%+ illegitimacy rates.

Helms is the sort of guy who did some things right, who took some bold stands that none of the cowards in Washington were taking, but often took them for the wrong reasons. In the process, with the language he used to justify his stands, he scared a few potential allies away. Why, after all, does Martin Luther King deserve his own holiday? Really? I can think of at least 20 Americans far more worthy and consequential than King. Is this affirmative action for federal holidays?

We don't even celebrate George Washington's Birthday, as such, anymore.

Realistically, the only thing that would have prevented the Jim Crow era is the equivalent of de-Nazification in Germany, an occupation long and forceful enough to truly shatter the old networks of power and protect alternatives as they got established. The work of two generations, likely, and one that would have had a high toll in executions of traitors and other criminals.

Yep, nothing like good old Marxist thought policing to really straighten things out. Nice to know you would support such policies. Now how much saliva comes out of your mouth when you denounce "McCarthyism"?

How is it not the exact same thing? How is "hate" not that which is manifest in "segregation"?

Segregation is not wanting to sit or live next to someone. Hate is wishing or doing that person harm. If segregation is hate, how do you defend all the organizations and societies that pop up that are racially/ethnically/religiously exclusive? So long, of course, as that exlcusivity is not for straight white Christian men?

As a NC native from farm country, Jesse simply WAS 'The Senator'. I can tell you exactly why North Carolina continued to elect him time after time. (1) He was a champion of the farmer, with subsidies and price supports and trade deals. (2) You might not LIKE his position on an issue, but at least you knew what it was. (3) Helms' brand of racism was pretty common among my father's generation. And while it may have grown less vocal over the years, it was still there at the core of the older NC conservative - and everyone knew Jesse shared that position, even if no one spoke of it. As that generation fades away, NC is becoming more open, more accepting. But it's still a VERY Red state.

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Whatnot


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