On America’s 232nd birthday, we lost one of the most craven pigs ever to have attained elected office, North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. In a country that has never shied away from its retrograde racists and backward stump-jumpers, Helms stood out as a kind of walking, sweating, cross-burning caricature of the Old South. Son of a cop, he supported Pinochet and Salvadoran rightist death squads, threatened the safety of President Clinton in 1994, created race-baiting political ads and crushed NEA funding.
Moved by his death, I have written a play.
Senator Jesse Helms (deceased)
Senator Strom Thurmond (deceased)
Jesse: Well, hello there, Strom.
Jesse: I say hello there, Strom!
Strom: Oh, Jesse. When’d you get here?
Strom: (turns, yells) Damn nigra, turn that racket down! (To Jesse) I said when’d you get here?
Jesse: Just today. I’ll tell you, I haven’t been in a nightclub in I don’t know how long.
Jesse: Say, when’s this Hendrix guy gonna finish so we can get outta here?
Strom: Ain’t no doors, Jesse.