Becky Says...

July 2008

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On Jesse - July 9

Being true to myself and my longstanding habit of not speaking ill of the recently dead, I held off on posting this till the funeral was over, and those who would say their kind things had had a chance to do so.

When I was a little girl in Sunday School class, I learned the notion that there was good in the worst of us, and bad in the best of us. That has stuck with me over forty years now, and I try very hard to remember it when confronted with someone whose principles seem totally different than mine.

But sometimes, it's really hard to find the good in some people. And that's definitely the case for me with respect to former Senator Jesse Helms. The man was a bigot, a racist, and a homophobe by most people's standards of those things. He pretty clearly disliked any liberal notion. And let's not forget the fear-mongering, otherwise known as negative political ads.

It has been said, mostly by those who would laud it in him, that one always knew where Jesse stood. Well, that's true. If it was in any way different from his pretty narrow standard, he was against it.

So do I find anything good in him? Sure. As Senator Elizabeth Dole reminded us over the weekend, one of the perks of being a Senator is being able to help your constituents cut through red tape occasionally. I know of several people who were so helped by Helms' office. Senator Dole mentioned his having done so for others. So I'll definitely give him that.

But otherwise? Not so much.

And trust me: just because the majority of the people voted for him whenever he ran most assuredly does not mean the whole state was behind him. Twenty-some years ago a man made a bit of money selling bumper stickers capitalizing on that fact. The stickers proclaimed that the person was from North Carolina but had not voted for Jesse Helms. They sold like hotcakes in Chapel Hill.

And that's my statement. I'm from North Carolina, but I most emphatically did not vote for Jesse Helms.

Text © copyright 2000-2008 Becky