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Former Sen. Jesse Helms Dies at 86

Former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms died of natural causes in Raleigh at 1:15am on July 4. Helms served 30 years in Congress and was known for his firebrand rhetoric and contentious political stances, such as his prolonged resistance to integration and vehement opposition to Communism. In his later years, Helms suffered from a variety of illnesses, including a bone disorder, prostate cancer and heart problems. He was 86 at the time of his death.

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Helms Tribute

In today's political climate Jesse Helms will not receive a balanced tribute. Everything about the man must be turned into racism. His first priority was preserving the government of a country that has created a life of opportunity and privilege, for all it's citizens, (and citizens of other countries), second to none in the world. Many want to constantly condemn our system of government, and those like Helms trying to protect it, while enjoying all the benefits of this same system. If the poorest group of Americans were a separate country, they would enjoy the 8th best economy in the world. In fables of the past, it's called chipping away at the castle from the inside! Do you remember how that story ended?

I'm sorry, but let's face

I'm sorry, but let's face the facts. Mr. Helms was a bigot, a racist and, along with Strom Thurmond, a Dixiecrat who had no problem fighting against desegregation, even though I bet the hypocrisy of his best pal Strom having had a child by his black maid would not bother him. He resisted integration and his political campaigns were nothing more than race baiting. I, as a white North Carolinian, have always felt ashamed by him. He sullied our state's reputation and I hope he has much to apologize for in the afterlife.

More like a Judge

You are a very much a judge of others. You point a hard finger, but I am not as sure as you that Senator Helms condoned illegitimate fatherhood. You are also hard on North Carolina forefathers, who according to you, will serve hard time in the afterlife.

If you had known Senator Helms... would know that he was neither a bigot nor a racist. He simply resisted the modern day pressure to disregard the Constitution to fix perceived problems. He had no problem with integration, per se. He had a great problem with the federal government overstepping its Constitutional authority to impose integration upon states and individuals to the n'th degree. Senator Helms realized that the Bill of Rights included a Ninth and Tenth Amendment. Far too many politicians forget that. He (and many people, to include me) opposed the King Holiday simply because Martin Luther King, Jr, is hardly a man who should be held up for adoration. His economic policies were borderline Marxist, and his personal life made Bill Clinton look like the pinnacle of moral virtue. Senator Helms simply didn't believe in shortcuts to equality, especially when someone else had to unfairly pay for it. He fought the patchwork of cluged-up, quick fixes politicains leapt on, from affirmative action to school busing. He was a man of far greater wisdom and thought than most of his contemporaries in the Senate.


I find it quite amusing that this day and time, you divulge into the policies of ancient times to support your views and unwillingness to embrace any form of humanity and rejection to fair treatment of all people. I just love the way you reference the Constitution, Bill of Rights and any other policy to justify the fact that Jesse Helms was a public mouthpiece for hatred and separation (obviously your idol). It is down right pitiful to hold such hatred and one sided views to heart. If the policies of the past no longer fit the occasion, and prove to be damaging of the rights of others, then I offer 100% support for the state and any other authority having the right to change it. I've often wondered about you per the other post you've written in the past. My thoughts are now confirmed. I'll be most delighted when the older generation of Helms is gone and we can all live in harmony in a new age with a new way of thinking. A way that reflects a human side.

....and I find it rather sad...

...that you cannot understand that in the absence of following the Constitution, ANYONE gets to make up the rules ANY TIME they want to. Here's an example: Look at the unimpressive results of "No Child Left Behind," read the Constitution, and then tell me where you find the word "education" mentioned even once. What in the world is the federal government doing involved in setting education satandards? We have fifty governors and state legislatures to do that, and in accordance with the Tenth Amendment...."The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." If we had one or two governors with enough backbone to tell George Bush where to put the DOE funding, NCLB probably would have died in the it should have. The federal government has absolutely no Constitutional authority to set education standards for the states. Senator Helms recognized that there IS a Tenth Amendment, and when the media says that he "opposed civil rights legislation," that's not accurate. It should read that he "opposed civil rights legislation that plainly overstepped federal authority as granted in the Constitution." He never once thought Blacks inferior or undeserving of the same liberties Whites enjoyed. He was smart enough to realize, however, that the best of intentions can go awry and fail miserably when the government oversteps the rules under which it must operate, tries to suddenly "create" instant fairness, or opts to replace one evil with abother evil. Thirty years ago, the federal government was pushing forced busing in urban school districts across this nation, and Senator Helms was fighting it every step of the way. How common is forced busing to achieve racial balance now? Extinct, because it was a total failure. Blacks and Whites uniformly rebelled against it. But it was oh-so-easy to order! Who cares if the legal authority was pretty shakey? Who cares if it actually set race relations BACK a few years? Senator Helms cared. He knew that it was a bad idea and overstepped federal authority. The rules were set down in the Brown v BOE Topeka decision....but nothing in that decision said that the federal government could force your child to go to a school on the other side of the city...yet that's exactly what we did. Some kids in Boston were getting on buses at 6 AM to be in school by 8 AM. They didn't get home until dinner time. Everyone suffered, Black and White. As far as your feelings about me, whoopdi-doo. I was nineteen years old when I learned that you'd better not be too fussy about the color of the other guy's skin, because you don't know who is going to be carrying your shot-up butt to the medevac bird. Skin color garners neither condemnation nor special consideration from me. I'm about the most color-blind person you'll meet in your life, so wonder all you want to about me. Just don't expect me to be warm, sensitive, and politically correct, because whether you're White or Black, I'm going to tell you like it is. If that offends you, toughen up, suck it up, and get over it. "Life's tough, but it's tougher when you're a naive bozo who thinks that life can be MADE fair."

RE:and I find it rather sad

For all of your knowledge and historical "hog wash", it doesn't change much. It clearly indicates your disgruntle feelings of the government system and their authority to overstep the state. I wish you had the opportunity to be on the recipient of the backlash received from Helm's views, then you may not agree so wholeheartedly. Personally, with or without overstepping the barriers of the Constitution, I'm grateful, at least in this regard, that other authorities were able to speak and enforce justice. If the injustice in NC from past to present wasn't bad enough for some folks; just imagine where we be if the state laws were solely at the discretion of Helms and his counterparts. God have mercy upon us all. BTW - My faith is in a power far greater than the government or the laws that have been implemented in the past, and will be implemented in the future. Of course, you wouldn't understand that because you're too busy badgering the government for everything including giving free lunch to kids during the summer. That alone says alot about you and your view for life.

A Conservative

Jesse Helms was a conservative--a derogatory label among liberal Americans, and an uncool label with young Americans. Senator Helms, like any man, was not always right, but he was a valuable conservative patriot. I most admired his indifference to the liberal media, who in turn took great joy in lampooning him. There is nothing wrong with finding "right" within one's country, and safeguarding a governmental system that has created, what many believe, to be the greatest nation in the world I read a report recently that said not a single American forfeited his/her American citizenship in the last year. If this statistic is correct, then, that says it all. I'm sure Jesse would agree.

Jesse was not a statesman.

Jesse Helms was not a stateman. He was more like a statesmean. He was mean-spirited and spoke the double-speak of racism and fear-mongoring to a scared, little-minded constituency in order to continue to get re-elected--just like every other politician has done. As a white man, I was embarrassed by his antics. He was a joke throughout the country except by those too afraid to show their true colors. He supported tobacco growers, too. Yeah! He supported the cancer industry! Yes, may he rest in peace and perhaps learn of the errors of his ways by the good Lord--the lord of ALL people and ALL nations.

Jesse was not a stateman

I think you a Jesse of the other side! I hope God can help you.

Great American

The bottom line was, the he was right in most of what he believed in. dare he support tobacco.... the number one tobacco producing state in the country? Thankfully, the majority of North Carolinians disagreed with your assessment, which is why he was elected to office five times.

Ignorance is bliss

Jesse supported tobacco because it got him elected, often. Yeah. I'm so proud of a bigot who helped promote cancer. A great patriot you say? A patriot is beloved by most people across political and racial divides. That man created the divides and exploited them. A patriot acts for the COMMON GOOD; Jesse promoted division for personal profit. I did not disagree with everything he stood for, but certainly these issues are clear as day. Since when is hate an American value?


Must be a lot of tobacco fartmers in this state to have elected Jesse 5 times.

Senator Helms also believed....

...that farmers had a right to grow a PERFECTLY LEGAL CROP. What part of that confuses you? A large portion of this state still makes their living from tobacco. It's still a legal product. Live with it! Your contention that Senator Helms "created" racial divides is too ludicrous to even comment on. Go back to school and study American history from 1664 to 1972.

Uncle Jesse

Say what you will about him, but he meant what he said and he said what he meant....and most of the time he was right on the money.....may he rest in peace


Jesse... You will be missed...

We may not have agreed on everything...

....but Jesse Helms stands as one of the last of a dying breed, a STATESMAN who would not trade principle for politically expedient gain. He had a backbone, a commodity most contemporary politicians consider excess baggage. We were lucky to have him as our Senator, and will likely never see such a leader arise from this state again. Republican or Democrat, mediocrity and double-talk are now the order of the day.

A Great Stateman

Jesse Helms even died on a patriotic day, the great patriot and statesman that we was!

I agree wholeheartedly!

I agree wholeheartedly with all the comments posted prior to mine with the exception of the one saying Jesse Helms was a statesmean. This was obviously posted by a deluded liberal democrat. We have way to many of them these days.