The picture to the left appeared in the latest edition of The Advocate (August 26, 2008), along with an article, "Ding-Dong, Jesse Helms is Dead."
For those who don't know it, Helms was the former North Carolina senator who passed away July 4, 2008 at the ripe old age of 87. Helms was a bigotted southern gentleman. He was known to whistle racist songs to black elected officials, and, as evidenced by transcripts from any number of Senate hearings, he had an amazing obsession with butt sex. And he hated gays. What do you say when someone like Helms dies? The Advocate said it best: "First Jerry Falwell, now Jesse Helms. One by one, the famous bigots of America are contributing their best (and last) service to this nation’s progress -- they’re dying."
But what people like Helms do sometimes has an opposite effect. Helms and others like him actually cause those they target to ban together and take action against the hatred and injustice.
"...he made us stronger, prodding us to organize among ourselves and with the other evildoers—including the abortion-havers and the immigrants who want to take your jobs."
But unfortunately, the Helms of the world will continue to exist. But fortunately, their influence seems to have lessened. Men like Fred Phelps of “God Hates Fags” fame look like madmen, not prophets. One can only hope that as we evolve as a society, these attitudes slowly disappear for all.