On July 4, 2008, my friend, Tony, calls me to make the announcement. I immediately blurted out, "so, the possibility of Barack Obama winning the presidency killed him, huh?"
I'm originally from NC and was able to view the bigotry politics of Jesse first hand. Mr. Helms believed in the values of the Old South and worked to maintain them while in the Senate. Although he claimed that he was not a racist, he opposed civil rights, the holiday honoring Martin Luther King, the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1982 and affirmative action.
In 1956 he wrote, "to rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend that he doesn't have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and dancing." While running for Senate against his Harvey Gantt, African-American opponent, he used a race baiting ad to defeat him.
So, it is apropos that he would die during an election year where there is the prospect of the first Black president.
Unlike Strom Thurmond & George Wallace, he never regretted any of his past or tried to repent. Therefore, I say, Goodbye Senator Helms, as we begin a new era in history and politics.