Friday, July 04, 2008

Tonight Jesse Helms Dines in Hell But Not (I Think) in the All-White Section

Jesse Helms is dead. That is *swell*. Breathing the same air he breathed always filled me with disgust.

Raised as a fundamentalist Protestant, I was one of those walking contradictions that sometimes spring from that peculiarly American soil. I was told that humanity was evil -- which I accepted as a proposition even though everyone I knew was kind of nice -- but as a good American boy I was filled with the notions of progress and the march toward earthly perfection.

Perfection is too strong. I believed in meliorism. I thought things inexorably inched forward. Then, about the time I was finishing up my degree at Duke while teaching at North Carolina State, my wife and I saw on the television the pustulant racist fish-faced Jesse Helms doing editorials for a Raleigh TV in which he was railing at (I still remember this phrase) BLACK WOMAN JUDGES.

And much else. But that is the phrase my wife and I recall. He was loathsome, and ignorance was the only prism through which he could have been seen as anything else.

You know the rest of the story. And so as I lost my Christian faith, I simultaneously had to accept that Christianity was pretty much right on about our collective heart of darkness, and I saw that progress was impermanent and anything but inevitable.

The truth is some scary shit, my friend.
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6 comments:

david silver said...

indeed.

Anonymous said...

"Hate will consume you in the end if you let it." -- Christopher Hitchens.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.

-- from Boswell but probably not Johnson

Greg Pabst said...

I don't think you "lost" your faith. You know very well where it is, right where you shed it.

Anonymous said...

and jesse helms was an idiot. a man who publicly stated that the motivation for his life was not to have "a chicken in the pot, but to have 2 big cars in the garage" and i might add at the expense of others. he was a man motivated by greed. how could such a beautiful state have elected such a nothing? he was a nothing bundle of ridgeness and hate! all thinking people must have lamented helms' election to the u.s. senate and the damage to the country that resulted from that fact. the harm he caused will long outlive him!!!! "all good things come to an end." thankfully, in the case of jesse helms, all bad things do too.

david silver said...

what's up with senators from north carolina?!?

now this.