When my DH asked me just now if I'd heard Jesse Helms had died, my first thought was, "Oh no! Not on the 4th of July!" Considered a racist, the five term Senator was a polarizing figure not only in NC, but much of the country. He once said his most important job was to "derail the freight train of liberalism."
Helms became known as "Senator No" because of his opposition to affirmative action, arts funding, gay rights and a federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King. These causes are all dear to my heart.
For him to die on this day seems totally ironic. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who wrote our Constitution, also died on July 4. The difference between their deaths and his is vast. Adams and Jefferson were true patriots who fought for and believed in truth, liberty, freedom and the dignity of man. Jesse Helms vented hate for as long as he served. The only good thing I could ever say about Helms is that you always knew where he stood.
Despite how I felt personally about the man, I am sorry for his family in their loss.