Monday, July 07, 2008

Oklahoma City - Who Knew?


Jesse Helms died on July 4th. He was one of the most racist, homophobic, chauvinistic, and hawkish senators in modern U.S. history. He was loved by the far right, and hated by any one left of centre, and half the people to the right of it. But the image above, taken from the web site if the Daily Oklahoman, ... well who knew anti-Helms feeling ran so high in the Sooner State.
(Those pop-up ads can be SO embarrassing !)
Helms served as senator from North Carolina for 30 years - from 1973 to 2003. In his first foray into politics - as a campaign manager in 1950 - he penned the lines:
"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? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races."

His candidate won. In 1963 Helms appeared on TV and said, in response to the then current civil rights protests:
"The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left
him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's
rights"
In 1981, he wrote in the NY Times,
"... irresponsibility among Negroes [is] a fact of life which must be faced."
And he kept getting elected with large majorities.

The fact that Barak Obama is now realistically hoping to win North Carolina (he is trailing McCain there by only 4 percentage points) speaks to how far American has come.

On the other hand, there are still a lot of die hard conservative racists. Just look at the Jesse Helm Memorial site.

My favourite entry there, however, is from the Mt Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, a black church in Washington North Carolina.

The officers and members of the Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church offer condolences to the family of the late Jesse Helms, Jr. We shall pray that God will take him in and make him a new person.

More Christian, for sure, then the image from the Daily Oklahoman. But then I am not Christian, so I will allow myself a smirk at Jesse's expense.

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