Tuesday, January 15, at 9 PM, UNC-TV premieres Senator No: Jesse Helms, a 90-minute biographical documentary from independent filmmaker John Wilson. The film chronicles Helms' life from his humble childhood in Monroe, to his two decades as an outspoken print and television editorialist, to his five contentious terms in the U.S. Senate and the fierce political battles that landed him there.
Your blogger hopes that Wilson and Public TV treat the ailing Helms with the respect he earned the hard way. It would be a shame to see his often controversial name dragged through the mud, possibly upsetting the Helms' family in the process. Helms, is an American Icon and deserves reverential treatment even by those with whom he did not agree.
From the 1950 Willis Smith/Frank Porter-Graham Senate primary to until his retirement, Helms always let folks know where he stood, no matter how "unpopular". That is a freshness missing in politics today, where most candidates and political parties seem to test their ideas in the wind before going forth.
Helms knew right from wrong, and stood up for his beliefs. Though your blogger didn't agree with every single stance he held, she admires him for being forthright.
This writer even lost "friends" after she placed Helms stickers on her cars during each election cycle in which he was involved. People would cut her off in traffic, complete with the middle-finger salute. Her homosexual friends stopped speaking to her, etc. Actually Helms employed several homosexuals on his staff over the years, based on your bloggers personal interactions with his staffers. He was a fair and open man.
Your blogger will be watching with anticipation to see how Helms is depicted. She hopes to learn more about North Carolina's interesting political history in the process. Often ridiculed for his strong stands against communism, Helms taught your blogger that living in America was an experience in which to be thankful.
Helms was instrumental in helping Ronald Reagan stay in the 1976 GOP Presidential primary, working to secure a win in North Carolina. Reagan later went on to become the greatest President in history, being elected in 1980, when this blogger was 14 years old.