Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Jesse Helms represented the worst in American politics and attitudes, and it is good to see him accurately described for the evil man he was. One of our political leaders described him as a "great American," which could not be further from the truth. The fewer Jesse Helmses that work this earth the better off we all are. No longer will be be able to poison young minds with his venom.

Robert Zimmerman

Lafayette, CA

Jul 11 2008 - 2:47pm

Web Letter

Ms. Duggan's article is strong stuff, but it's a bracing antidote to the meek summaries of Jesse Helms we've seen in the mainstream media in recent days.

She neglects to mention one of Helms's other great misachievements. More than any other single person, Jesse Helms successfully turned the question of whether to use government funds to support arts and culture into raw meat for partisan politicking. He led the deplorable movement to cripple, marginalize and attempt to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thankfully, the NEA has outlived Jesse Helms (just barely), but it has unquestionably been badly weakened by his attacks, through which he and his allies raised many millions more dollars than the federal government gives to the arts.

Michael Wilkerson

Kensington, MD

Jul 9 2008 - 5:45pm

Web Letter

Interesting. Curious if Ms. Duggan and others of her ilk will issue pejorative words on the passing of Robert Byrd D-KKK. I won't be holding my breath.

William Llewellyn

Clearlake, CA

Jul 9 2008 - 11:59am

Web Letter

I found Ms. Duggan's piece a tad bit over the top.

It sadly reflected the same bigotry and hatred she so righteously ascribes to Senator Helms and believe me, I am no fan of his.

Of her more egregious statements, nothing, in my mind, was more outrageous than referring to Vidal's line about Buckley--as if Buckley and Helms are in any serious way comparable. That was a contemptible closing line of vitriol.

I can only assume that the "rigors" of teaching something called "Queer Studies" has made her into a mean-spirited, hardened, angry bitch--which she probably revels in being.

Given a choice, I'd rather have beer in hell with Jesse any day than share a brew with you, Ms. Duggan.

Charles Jackson

Atlanta, GA

Jul 9 2008 - 4:57am

Web Letter

Let's be honest, Jesse Helms was no Barry Goldwater, who was a friend to Native Americans, desegregated his business in Arizona, was strong supporter of the Arizona NAACP and voted for every piece of Civil Rights legislation before 64. He was no Robert Taft, who was a fierce opponent of the Ku Klux Klan. He was no William F. Buckley, who later in his life apologized for his views on race and civil rights in general. He wasn't even Strom Thurmond, who despite his strong segregationist stances in the '40s, '50s and '60s voted for a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. He was just Jesse, and regardless of what you thought of him, he didn't change not one bit.

There is something to be said about speaking ill of the dead. For as much as you, I and others hated his views, we must remember he had a right to them. I hope that where ever he is he has found some sort of peace, and that God has granted him that very compassion that he neglected to show others in life.

"One day we will have to stand before the God of history, and we will talk of things we've done. Yes, we will be able to say we have built gargantuan bridges to span the seas. We built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies.... It seems to me I can hear the God of history saying, 'That was not enough! But I was hungry and ye fed me not. I was naked and ye clothed me not...' " --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

James Bellamy

Titusville, FL

Jul 9 2008 - 12:16am

Web Letter

All very true, Ms. Duggan, Professor of "Queer Studies." However, a slight correction. As National Public Radio reported, Helms did "soften" his stance on AIDS research and, I believe, according to the report, he collaborated with Bono on this same issue? Oh, and why isn't anyone criticizing him for voting to subsidize tobacco farmers year after year after year?

John Molina

Chula Vista, CA

Jul 8 2008 - 2:57pm

Web Letter

This is so typical of leftists like Duggan! People like Duggan are quick to point out the hatred in any statement made by those they disagree with! I agree with a previous poster that if it was that racist Jackson who died she would have written something flowery about him. We need another hero like Joe McCarthy to rise up and fight back against Marxist pigs like Duggan! The sooner the better!

Paul Puskar

King of Prussia, PA

Jul 8 2008 - 8:36am

Web Letter

You know, Jesse Jackson is a racist too. I wonder if the author will have kind words about him also upon his demise. Racists come in all colors.

And didn't the employee from Azul Production's mother ever teach her not to speak ill of the dead? The most primitive of civilizations understand that.

William Harry

Timonium, MD

Jul 7 2008 - 8:10am

Web Letter

Thank you for saying what the mainstream media is avoiding. Jesse Helms was a bigot, plain and simple. He was full of hate and reflected the very worst in America. I'm glad he's gone and what he really did and said needs to be reviewed. Yes, Rest in Hell, Jesse.

Barbara Crowley

Boulder, CO

Jul 6 2008 - 11:22am

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