Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, July 4, 2008

Jessie Helms Dead

"Soon after the Senate vote on the Confederate flag insignia, Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) ran into Mosely-Braun in a Capitol elevator. Helms turned to his friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), and said, "Watch me make her cry. I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing 'Dixie' until she cries." He then proceeded to sing the song about "the good life" during slavery to Mosely-Braun.
-- (Gannett News Service, 9/2/93; Time, 8/16/93).

The daddy will continue his series on poetry tomorrow. But today, he wanted to say a few words about Jessie Helms.

Yes, former North Carolina Senator Jessie Helms Helms died in his sleep this morning at 1:15 a.m., this 4th of July. He was 86.

Now, my bible-reading, God-fearing, ebonics-talking Aunt Bess, who raised us after my mother died, told me to never “speak ugly” of the dead.
“Let sleeping dogs lie,” she would always say. The press seems to have gotten the memo from Aunt Bess, calling Helms “an institution,” a “great public servant,” a senator “whose stature had few equals.” And so on. Well, before this sleeping dog is put into the ground, the daddy will list just a few things that this "great public servant" is famous for.

First, politics is called "the art of compromise" but Helms was famous for being uncompromising. As they say in black churches, Helms “made it plain” in a 1959 editorial: “Compromise, hell! ... If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?”

Helms offended a lot of people. In 1986, after Mexicans protested his visit there, he said "Those Latins are volatile people, so I wasn't surprised." In 1995, he called lesbians "wenches" on a radio program. In 1968, after Dr. King's assassination, black students held a vigil on Duke University's campus. Helms response to white student's support of this vigil? "They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro."

He was a fierce opponent of a woman’s right to choose, gay rights, Castro's Cuba. But he was definitely pro-business, especially the tobacco industry. Despite the fact that tobacco causes cancer, Helms was—you might say—“uncompromising” in his support of tobacco growers and farmers selling death all over the world, even to children.

But Helms was best known for his opposition to black rights. In fact, more than any other politician, it was helms who perfected the so-called southern strategy, which was nothing more than using race to scare poor whites into voting for white politicians, against black rights, even against their (poor whites) own interest.

Helms hatred of blacks knew no bounds. In fact, for him it was more than southern politics; It was an integral part of his deeply-held convictions about Christianity and what he called "the southern way of life." To his way of thinking, no true white Christian in the land of cotton and tobacco should "mix" in any way with the inferior "Negro."

Indeed, it was Helms, more than any other politician at the time, who created a coordinated right-wing structure to keep blacks "in their place, mobilizing the religious right to vote for white males, to fight against issues like a Dr. King holiday, divestment in South Africa, gay and women's rights.

Fighting against blacks was Helm's stock and trade. Christopher Scott, leader of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, put it this way: "His racial politics are deeply held convictions, not simply politics of convenience. He has a view of a fundamentalist Christian society in which everyone is not welcome. If you could pick up the South Africa of 20 years ago and transplant it to America, that's what he would do." As Aunt Bess would say, "Ugh, ugh, ugh."

Okay, folks, how much are you going to miss yo boy Jessie Helms, your "great public servant,” your all-around nice guy “whose stature had few equals?”

And you wouldn't speak ugly about the dead, wouldja?


Anonymous said...

People ought to quit it. No matter how terrible these politicians were in life, we say all these nice things about them when they die. It's hypocritical I don't care what anybody's aunt says!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Aw shucks Daddy. You know I'd never say anything bad about the dead. Just go over to my blog and see what a fitting memorial I have posted to the memory of the honorable senator from Noth Carelina.

MacDaddy said...

anon: Amen.
sagacious: I can't wait to get over to your blog and hear what you have to say about the honorable statesman from North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

daddy, My daughter said Helms wanted to die quickly, because he didn't want to live in a country run by a black president.

MacDaddy said...

anon: You got a smart daughter. Hey, anon, you comment on my blog quite a bit. I think I know who you are. Usually, people are pretty respectful on this blog. Lots of sarcasm though, such as that crazy guy from W. Virginia, sagacious, talking about "the honorable senator from North Carolina." And tell your daughter to visit,okay?

Nun in the Hood said...

Good Morning, Mac Daddy..
While I believe in an all forgiving, all compassionate, all inclusive God/Creator/Yawheh/Alah, She's got lots of stretching to do to forgive this guy his exclusive, unforgiving, unloving ways...Perhaps we can imagine Jessie seeing the LIGHT of LOVE at this moment! (WHAT AN AWAKENING IT WILL BE!!!)
May God forgive us all for whatever smallness of vision we embrace...And let's pray that the Creator lift up leaders with a LARGER THAN LIFE VISION of the BELOVED COMMUNITY MLK Jr envisioned.

MacDaddy said...

nuninthehood: Thanks for those kind, generous comments. I, too, believe in forgiveness, but, frankly, with this guy, it may take me a while. By the way, thanks for the wonderful work you do for kids on the North side of Minneapolis.