Jesse Helms died on the 4th of July and the nation celebrated with fireworks, BBQs and a day off for everyone. I can’t think of a single nice to thing to say about him so I’ll say accurate things instead. It is a matter of some dispute whether Helms’ most obvious and prominent attribute was his ignorance or his bigotry. He was a malevolent voice for obscurantism and anti-modernism in every conceivable way. This was a man who, as late as 1995, was declaring that the Washington Post and the New York Times were “infested with homosexuals” and called gays “morally sick wretches.” This is also the man who called the University of North Carolina the “university of negroes and communists” and who said, in response to vigils on college campuses by students in the wake of Martin Luther King’s death, “They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro.” No, I won’t miss him, nor will the world. Rot in peace.