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Jesse Helms: 1921-20082 min read

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This past July 4, Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr. died. Helms is another conservative icon whom liberals love to hate and ridicule, not only for his longstanding outspoken positions against abortion, affirmative action, government arts funding, gay rights and AIDS research funding, but for his sometimes rude and racial remarks, thick southern drawl and less than pretty face (he’s no Ronald Reagan). Jesse on abortion and the 9/11 attack:

This is indeed another kind of
holocaust, by another name. At last count, more than 40 million unborn
children have been deliberately, intentionally destroyed. What word
adequately defines the scope of such slaughter? [After 9/11]
the American people responded with shock, sadness and a deep and
righteous anger — and rightly so. Yet let us not forget that every
passing day in our country, more than three thousand innocent Americans
are killed [through abortion].

Before I was a Christian, I attended NC State University, and had an Ayatollah Helms bumper
sticker on the portfolio I carried.  Like or hate him, he is an icon
who accomplished much for conservative politics as a 5-term Senator and
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 – 2001.

Related Articles:

  • Jesse Helms (1921-2008) (North Carolina History Project)
  • Looking Back on Jesse Helms’ Life (NPR, w/ audio)
  • Jesse Helms quotes on life and politics (AP)
  • Jesse Helms (
  • Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism ( – “Righteous Warrior” should stand as the go-to biography of Helms for
    some time. Not only will Link’s thorough research and dutiful
    reconstruction of Helms’s career deter successors, but his core
    analysis is hard to dispute. “If you want to call me a bigot, fine,”
    Helms himself once growled, while ranting against a Clinton
    administration appointee for being “a damn lesbian.” Link is too
    dispassionate and fair-minded a historian to make this book a
    monochromatic portrait in bigotry. Yet his account leaves little doubt,
    ultimately, about what made Helms such a figure of vilification
    throughout his long career — and what simultaneously allowed such a
    vilified figure to enjoy so much sustained success."