Re “A conservative who didn’t budge,” July 5
The death of Jesse Helms comes at a momentous time in American history. We are about to find out whether race-baiting has a place in 21st century American presidential politics.
Does the passing of this man symbolize the passing of an era in our country that was far from kind, decent and humble? Perhaps the “hope” that Barack Obama so often speaks of is best defined as the antidote to Helms’ brand of political cynicism.
Helms’ entire career was a deep, broiled scar on the U.S. Senate and on the state of North Carolina. When a small person acquires power so disproportionate to his mental acuity, the people are left at a disadvantage.
Hate-mongering, ceaseless inflexibility and backbiting were the hallmarks of this nasty little politician, who should have remained a local country radio personality.
The Senate is a body for understanding the complexities of modern life. There is no place for more like Helms.
So let me try to get my mind around this: Helms, a virulent segregationist to his death, a rabid hater of homosexuals, always up for obstructionist behavior no matter how dirty or counterproductive, is praised by George W. Bush as “a kind, decent and humble man” and a “great patriot.” Wouldn’t a simple “rest in peace” have done the trick?