Sunday, July 06, 2008

Thoughts on the passing of Jesse Helms

I took the weekend off from blogging and a few other things over the weekend to spend time with my new family. It was the second weekend I had off in a while. Two weeks ago, I managed to get away to the beach and this weekend I took a day trip to New Bern. I originally wanted to go to a museum in Kinston, but ended up going to a similar one in New Bern, instead. For true fire buffs, it was great, but for children and non buffs, it was boring. It was also over priced, charing $5 admission for a museum about the size of my house.

Anyway, I read with sadness about the passing of Jesse Helms, longtime NC Senator. Helms, like him or hate him, was a staunch conservative, often being called "Mr. No". Helms was a straight shooter, which I admired greatly. You always knew where Jesse stood on issues. Politically, I had a hard time faulting him on many things. This quote from his Wikipedia entry says volumes to me.
He was an outspoken conservative who opposed communism, tax increases, abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, food stamps, secularism, and government-funded healthcare.
I wish we had 100 men just like Jesse in the Senate.

I do not support some of Helms' apparently racist views. I do, however, support his conservative view points. He was never politically correct in his approach to politics. At least he was consistent. I still have a taped interview that an old friend of mine did with Senator Helms in the early 90's. Perhaps sometime soon, I will digitize it and put it online. I did support his stance in opposition to the MLK holiday, his stance against homosexuality, and a host of other conservative principles that most so called conservatives today dare not touch because a lack of spine.

One evening, I had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with a lady and her husband who live here in Johnston County. This young lady (now married with children) served as a clerk or legislative assistant of some sort in Senator Helms' office in Washington, DC. She apparently kept up with Jesse over the years. She said that he still met with friends and associates, though his dementia had taken its toll on him. It was obvious that this lady had a lot of fondness for the late senator. She recounted several stories of her time spent working for Senator Helms.

Oddly enough, that dinner was one of the things that helped to seal my departure from the Republican Party. I was a charter member of their local county men's club. That night, we had invited Ms. Littler and her husband to speak on her time with the senator. As it turned out, I was the only one to show up from the Johnston County GOP. The ONLY one. Had I not taken my (then) wife with me, the invited guests would have outnumbered the hosting party. I found such a lack of commitment and attendance not only rude but despicable. It was that sort of poor leadership that made me realize how ineffective the GOP really is. That was a portion of my reasons for leaving, but a strong portion.

I pray to God that we had more elected officials with the guts that were displayed by Jesse Helms.

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