Jesse Helms has begun to decompose. Over the next few days, any number of North Carolinians will be writing commentaries that begin with “I didn’t agree with him, but…”
I’m not one of those people who will write sweet, apologetic obituaries despite my differences with the man. The fact of his death does not suddenly transform him into a great and honorable man. He was neither great nor honorable. He was a small-minded bigot and political opportunist who used his considerable power to make many people’s lives more miserable than they needed to be. The fact that you “always knew where he stood” is irrelevant; consistency isn’t an asset when one is consistently wrong. Jesse Helms was an evil son of a bitch, and now he’s an evil son of a bitch who also happens to be deceased. Period.
I won’t say I’m glad that he’s dead, and I don’t mean to suggest that he deserved to die for his opinions. However, I also won’t pretend that I’ll miss the man, nor that I feel any particular sense of loss upon his passing. He’s dead. It doesn’t change my opinion of him in any way.