WE'VE BEEN GIVEN A TRUE Independence Day gift: One of the most vile remnants of America's racist history, former Senator Jesse Helms (R–NC), died early this morning. From a position of great influence over a nation whose diversity is its most fertile virtue, he instead blocked progress toward greater harmony for all, and stigmatized those who were different from him to advance his philosophy and retain power. This, if nothing else, is the definition of evil.
He joins atavistic white supremacists George Wallace and Strom Thurmond in nonexistence. Our advance into this still-new century takes us step by cleansing step away from a time when such men became civic leaders by demonizing women, homosexuals, and religious and racial minorities.
At least this race-baiting homophobe got to see an African-American man and a woman vie for the chance to lead this country. Each vote for Obama and Clinton was a nail in the coffin of men like Helms and the sick vision of the American dream he promulgated.
Nearly two and a half centuries after that auspicious day in Philadelphia, that vision is finally dying. Let Helms's corpse be flung upon it.