If Bono Can Give Jesse Helms A Chance, Can't We?

Illustration for article titled If Bono Can Give Jesse Helms A Chance, Can't We?

So America is 232 and Jesse Helms is dead at 86. Helms was, so you know, "not the least bit racist" - it says so right in the memoir he wrote after resigning from a six-decade career marked by such notable episodes as the time he referred to his state's public university system as University of Negroes and Communists and the time he approved that campaign spot against a black candidate blaming the recession on minority affirmative action hires, and the multiple times he spoke longingly of the Confederacy, along with the time he refused to speak to Ryan White's mom in an elevator because to do so might acknowledge that AIDS could happen in the absence of homosexual sex or that time…well, you get the picture. Three decades or so after it started infecting people Bono finally got Helms to admit AIDS was killing some innocents, and if Bono forgave him who are we to…yeah, anyway. That and: is Obama being dissed by Hill's Raisers? Is our children who are not studious Chinese immigrants learning? And is it time to invest in tupperware? That and more with me & Glamocracy's Megan, after the jump.


MOE: How was your fourth? Mine was sufficiently good that not only did Jesse Helms die, but I didn't find out about it until last night! Although I can't say I avoided the internet completely.

In 1990, locked in a tight race with an African American Democrat, former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, Helms aired a final-week TV ad that showed a pair of white hands crumpling a rejection letter, while an announcer said, "You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota."

MOE: It's weird that no one has tried to rip off that ad and just change the end to "But they had to give it to some overworked underthanked office manager who already works for the company because margins are being squeezed on one end by the fact that the competition just outsourced three major functions to Hyderabad and Wal-Mart is our biggest customer, and we just lost our best truck driver to a job working security in Baghdad and the new service refuses to guarantee delivery within their five-minute RFID processing window without a deposit of at least a $8 per estimated gallon of fuel, the remainder of which doesn't get refunded until the end of the fiscal year, at which point accounting figures out a way to make it look like a "surprise" warranting an extra bonus for the senior VP who will unfortunately have to match that surprise next year by eliminating the job of the aforementioned overworked underthanked office manager.

MEGAN: Or, just, you know, with McCain's hands crumpling the paper, having lost out on the job to an obvious affirmative action candidate.

MEGAN: Hey, did you see that a campaign is economic stimulus plan? Who needs war when we've got campaigns? It's the trickle-up theory of economics! You give them your money, they spend it and... um, you get a job until November out of it, just like me!

MOE: Oh Megan why does your sense of humor have to be so, like, accessible and uniformly capable of generating laughs? And yeah I bet that whoever manufactures those tasteful mudflaps with which truckers tend to adorn their vehicles, presuming those are still manufactured here, has found some extra business making campaign road signs and such. It's probably good for Clear Channel too. Though not so much the rainforests. Hey, speaking of the rainforests, is there still one of those signs somewhere about how quickly they're being burned up? And what's the carbon footprint of the average Rainforest Cafe?

MEGAN: You know, I would probably have to visit a Rainforest Cafe to get an idea, but I don't eat at chain restaurants if I can help it. And that one seems particularly cheesy. I'm going to guess high with some efforts to offset but not nearly enough.

MOE: Oh wait also I do want to know about your vacation, and also give a hearty congratulations to Florida governor Charlie Crist, who got engaged over the weekend to a woman who is the president of a Halloween costume company, although it's mostly just a ceremonial title since she lives in Miami and it's her family business. I bet that Halloween costume company has created a lot of jobs in this country over the past twenty years! Not!

MEGAN: Cough, beard, cough

MEGAN: Somebody really, really, really wants to be Vice President

MEGAN: he's not GAY if he's married to a woman! Am I right?

MOE: Cough, panne tunic, cough.

MEGAN: I do have to wonder if the tattoo comes with the rocker outfit, looking at those pictures.

MEGAN: Oh, by the way, let's take this opportunity to remind every to get out and vote in 2010 because the new Republican strategy since they can't win on their merits (and, yes, it's an oldie but a goodie) is to spend their money to win the 2010 gubernatorial races so that they can use the 2010 census to redistrict themselves back into competitive shape.

MOE: Oh my god do you think that Deena McGreevy will pen an opinionated open letter to Claudia encouraging her to pursue the marriage if only to assist her righteous mission to expose that closeted gayness is NOT the sole problem of ambitious Bible thumping homophobic heartland politicians? Yeah I don't know. How was your weekend? I hope you didn't heed the advice of the prime minister of our former colonialist overlords and store your leftovers in the fridge to make them last longer, because, like, what would that to to stimulate the economy?

MEGAN: Actually, because I'm leaving on Wednesday for a week-long trip, the current contents of my fridge include: beer, water, coffee creamer, an open package of bacon, a rotted container of something I remain scared to open, portabello mushrooms, shredded mozzarella and condiments. And bread that would have gotten moldy except that it's low-carb so it has no sugar and thus lasts in some half-stale state forever and ever, not that such makes it really tasty let alone edible.

MEGAN: Other than that, my weekend was fine, I basically ended up driving around places which sucks because it means I can't drank but I practices drinking beer because I'm trying to get in palate-shape for my trip...

MEGAN: Oh, FUCK, the Democrats are trying to kill American values by eliminiating fried foods from the convention this summer among other colossal missteps that are fucking things up.

MOE: Wait, OT but: the Chinese are fighting terrorists on Segways? Is that what's going on here?

MEGAN: I know, our friend Josh Foust sent that to me yesterday. You have to admire the thigh control to steer a Segway with your thighs while firing a semi-automatic weapon.

MOE: Here's something interesting I thought was being totally fabricated by Fox News: Hillraisers are not lining up behind Obama:

Meanwhile, an analysis of campaign-finance records conducted for The Wall Street Journal by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that in May, when Sen. Obama was widely believed to have clinched the Democratic nomination, only one Hillraiser had switched allegiance to the Obama campaign. And while 115 individuals who had donated at least $1,000 to Sen. Clinton made their first donations to Sen. Obama, another 115 former Clinton backers made their first big donations to Sen. McCain.

MEGAN: Well, but, in May? She hadn't dropped out yet. Duh. None of her people were switching sides then. Let's see June figures, and then July figures, and then we can talk (since they just made their joint Unity appearance a week ago).

MOE: And speaking of phenomena that would surely please Jesse Helms Asians now dominate Thomas Jefferson High School. Incidentally I was not able to take the exam to attend this high school because I was living in China at the time and was thereby subjected to four years at a newly coed Catholic school that inculcated me in American values such as mediocrity and alcohol abuse and how to make a wool-ramie blazer look slutty.

MEGAN: And here I thought public school was the shit. Not that I didn't spend my time quitting shaving, growing my hair out, dating a hippie guy in a band and wearing broomstick skirts and bell bottoms. Fuck you, it was 1991-1995 and there was fuck all else to do in upstate NY.

MOE: 40 people just died in Kabul. At the gates of the Indian embassy</a

MOE: >

MEGAN: Oh, right, they're back to hating the Hindus. Is there enough hate in their hearts for both India and The West?

MEGAN: Speaking of hate in their hearts, the right wing is going to excerpt Obama's book on tape talking about drugs and Reverend Wright to use against him in the fall.

MEGAN: Probably because the latest polls have Obama up by 6 points in the general (plus or minus 2 for the margin of error) and McCain only up by 2 points in Georgia and fucking behind in Montana.

MOE: Well according to this guy all the hate in their hearts can be cured when, like Jesse Helms, they get to meet Bono in heaven.


But my grandfather taught me never to speak ill of the dead.

So I'll pass on passing judgment on the late Sen. Jesse Helms, who seemed to spend so much of his life passing judgment on anyone who didn't fit his narrow view of what is right and good and Christian…Clearly, the man who once called the University of North Carolina the "University of Negroes and Communists" was a product of a particularly exclusive, judgmental and nationalistic strain of Christianity.


MEGAN: If you have hate in your heart and there is a heaven, do you even get to go?


In 1995, for example, he told The New York Times that the government should spend less money on people with AIDS because they got sick as a result of "deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct."

But after talking to Bono, Helms apologized and said he was ashamed. "I have been too lax too long in doing something really significant about AIDS," Helms said.

What did Bono tell him?

"Christ only speaks about judgment once and it's not about sex but about how we deal with the poor, and I quoted Matthew, 'I was naked and you clothed me, I was hungry and you fed me.' Jesse got very emotional, and the next day he brought in the reporters and publicly repented about Aids. I explained to him that AIDS was like the leprosy of the New Testament."

If a rock star can have that sort of impact on Jesse Helms, there's no telling what Jesus can do.


MEGAN: Aw, Bono! Using my favorite tactic, quoting the Bible to the fundies.

MOE: This story about Sacramento and smart growth is interesting. It turns out people are sick of the suburbs!

MEGAN: Well, you know, except for my relatives that lived in the suburbs, but they moved to Philly anyway this year.


Mama Penguino

@aspiringexpatriate: Well, hell. I just wrote a really intelligent comment about your well-made points and it disappeared. Since I can't recall, I'll boil it down. I agree with a lot of what you say here. But "three educated women" talking? More like two slurring and stumbling and one alternating between shock and dismay (and liking it)!