Monday, April 03, 2006

Bullshit: Past, Present and Future

News out of Raleigh tells us that former Senator Jesse Helms has dementia. Unfortunately, the people who voted for him don't have that excuse.

Helms started his career as a red-baiting smear artist and an ardent segregationist. As an "unofficial reseacher" for conservative Willis Smith in 1950, Helms created an ad featuring a doctored photo of the incumbent's wife dancing with a black man. He then went on to gain fame as a TV bloviator in the sixties by railing against gays, blacks and Chapel Hill. His recent autobiography tries to soften his bigotry and make Jesse seem to be just a principled man who did what he thought was right, critics be damned. But that's bullshit.

In 1984, Jesse ran a campaign that leaked stories to accomodating newspapers hinting that Jesse's opponent, former governor Jim Hunt, was a closet homosexual.

People who like Helms, and they are legion here in North Carolina, say "You always knew where Jesse stood." Except when you didn't. During that '84 campaign, there was talk about Jesse taking over the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, something far right zealots salivated over, but Jesse promised the state's rural voters that he would never give up his chair of the Agriculture Committee.

Jesse won and on election night Pat Robertson gloated over the "Christian" Helms' win and how he would soon take over Foreign Relations. Reminded of Jesse's promise, Robertson admitted that Helms would keep his word unless, and this is a quote, "he can find some way out of it."

Jesse found a way out of it. And as chairman of Foreign Relations, he used that chair to bludgeon anyone he thought might secretly wear pastel or was insufficiently conservative, which meant anyone to the left of Pinochet.

It was Jesse's support for homicidal miscreants like Pinochet and Roberto D'Aubuisson that made me hate the old bastard. His embrace of Latin American plutocrats, thugs and thieves, people responsible for the murder of children, nuns, priests, reporters and students, showed his well-publicized Christianity to be a hollow sham. When witnesses told Helms' staff that the US-financed contras were killing doctors and nurses in Nicaragua, Helms' spokesperson said "they were Communists and deserved to die." Jesse's policies made life harder, meaner and brutally short for poor people from Guatemala to Tierra del Fuego. For all those murdered innocents, he's earned a special seat in hell.

Of course, all that's in the past. Now he's a cuddly conservative. He's met with Bono. He's against AIDS. He's a southern gentleman.

"His manners are always intact," his wife, Dot, said. "He is very gracious when people come to see him. He is his same self in a lot of ways. He just doesn't always remember."

That means we have to remember. As this evil bastard shuffles into the twilight, let's remember him as he was - A deceitful, power-hungry, angry bigot who supported more cruelty in the name of anti-communism than any other single American of the past fifty years.

A few years back he had heart surgery. The doctors bolted in a valve from the heart of a pig because, as the joke went, there was no fear of rejection. Now he has dementia. Fuck him.

As a political postscript, I read this morning that John McCain, he of the Straight Talk Express, has reconsidered his previous position that Jerry Falwell is "an agent of intolerance." Now, Senator McCain loves him some Falwell and will speak at the noted asshat's Liberty University commencement. I'm sure this change in position has nothing to do with McCain's presidential ambitions.

Pure American Bullshit. It's what's for dinner.


Sandra Ruttan said...

You know, my husband begged me to never post on politics.

He's prepared to live with suggestive sex and so forth if I'll just avoid anything so controversial.

But this post is pure brilliance, proof of just how well the political topic can be presented on a forum - entertaining, enlightening. If the old bastard wasn't so damn infuriating, it would be nothing but the most enjoyable of blog post reads.

And having been to central American, my blood boils. Fucking bastard. Hope he rots in hell. Dementia's too good an end for him - why couldn't he be sent to Iraq on some gov't errand and kidnapped?

That's about what he deserves.

And the word verification is urrite, so even blogger agress.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Agrees. Shit, what's wrong with me this morning? And now the verification is dumass

Jim Winter said...

"News out of Raleigh tells us that former Senator Jesse Helms has dementia."

This is news? I knew that back in 1980, and I barely knew who the man was back then.

Jennifer Jordan said...

Helms is one of the scarier politicians out there. This post sums up his reign of archaic, hate-mongering policy very well.

I've noticed the 'change' in McCain in the last you weeks and have pushed him over into the Political Suck-Up column. He stood up to his party, now he's bending over and taking it like a good ol' boy.

This country needs a government of the people, for the people, right quick.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Christ, won't Helms just die, already? He's, what, a hundred and ten?

I'm not surprised about McCain, though I wish I were. American politics, hell all politics is based on convenience, compromise and soul selling. I'm of the firm belief that the people who should be in power are not necessarily the ones who want to be in power.

JD Rhoades said...

News out of Raleigh tells us that former Senator Jesse Helms has dementia.

How could they tell?

A few years back he had heart surgery. The doctors bolted in a valve from the heart of a pig because, as the joke went, there was no fear of rejection.

How'd they find the heart? With a microscope?

Brilliant rant, David. And I couldn't agree with you more. It does no good to say you're a man of "principle" when your principles are monstrous.

Steve Ordog said...

The Russian saying is that "people get the government they deserve." I think that much of the public "face" of a Jesse Helms has more to do with the general mood and prejudices of the people he courts through campaigning, speaking, etc. I think it is fascinating to study a Helms, Bush, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and ask what are the mean prejudices of the public that prop up these guys. I know that I hold minority views here but sometimes it is scary just how much in the minority I am. The sad truth is that this is government of the people and by the people. The people just suck!