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A gay North Carolinian on Jesse Helms' passing

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 11:09 AM
Original message
A gay North Carolinian on Jesse Helms' passing
Edited on Fri Jul-04-08 11:09 AM by dsc
I grew up on Ohio and all I knew about North Carolina were the stories that my dad told me about his days in the army and Jesse Helms. Needless to say I didn't think I would end up here. The North Carolina of my mind was a place with accepted bigotry and open hate. A place where a politician could openly threaten the life of a President and get away with it. Now that I live here, and never under Jesse Helms, I know that in many ways Jesse Helms was dead years ago.

The Jesse Helms that I gave money to see defeated in 1984 was an all powerful titan of Washington who could single handedly defeat gay rights. By the time I got here he was out of office and his state had several areas with gay rights laws and others where gays were protected by other means. The state that when he gave his commentaries in the 1960's had segregated schools, offices, lunch counters, hotels, and voting booths has integrated schools, offices, and every other public accomodation. His state has openly gay teachers working at integrated schools with integrated administrations. Jesse Helms' ideas died way before he did.

The Senate seat he held for 3 decades is up again this year. One of the candidates in the primary on the Democratic side was an openly gay man. Sadly, he didn't make it to the general. But the very fact an openly gay man could and did run for his seat is testimony that Jesse Helms' ideas are dead. The Democratic nominee for President is an African American who won our primary going away, that is testimony to the fact taht Jesse Helms' ideas are dead.

Yesterday the NC House rejected a Senate weaking of an anti bullying bill that would protect gay school children among others. We are also likely to hold off again on a referendum to ban marriage equality. That is testimony to the fact Jesse Helms' ideas are dead.

Despite Jesse's efforts, North Carolina is joining the 21st century on both race and sexuality issues. The progress is progress, not perfection. Jesse's ideas have been dead for a long time and thank God for that.

I am truely sorry for his family's loss. By all accounts he was a loving spouse and father. Unlike many GOP social conservatives he actually lived by the code he would have forced others to live by. I am not affected by the passing of his body but I sure am not sorry his ideas passed.
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ThePowerofWill Donating Member (462 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
1. I do agree with much of what you are saying.
Another thing i will add is that it was not his racism, and gay bashing that kept him in office. It was in large part because many farmers supported him due to the pork he brought home.

My first vote was cast for Harvey Gant to unseat Helms. As always Helms squeezed through with a bare 1%.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you
Edited on Fri Jul-04-08 11:31 AM by Jack Rabbit
Your comments are an inspiration of real hope.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. I did a work temporary duty in NC
I found it a unique combination of hick and hip and was pleasantly surprised - I thought the folk I worked with would be very conservatve but that was far from the case - pretty much all of them despised bush.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. when I first got here I worked at a rural school
and was pleasantly surprised that in 2004 we are about 50/50. Now it is hard to find a teacher who is happy with Bush at my current school.
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fortyfeetunder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. Great commentary
A great way to view Sen. Helms passing.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thanks for your eloquence, dsc
*bows*
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
7. Some of my favorite people
Live in North Carolina. Loved the post.
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NC_Nurse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
8. It's nice for those of us who've lived here a long time to see one of our great
nemeses pass on.

And you are right, with each passing year, NC becomes more of a 21st century place. :o :thumbsup:
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