During his long career in the United States Senate, Jesse Helms garnered himself a reputation as being the most staunchly conservative members of that congressional body. He served from 1973-2003 and at a time when the country was taking great steps forward in terms of racial, gender and LGBT equality issues, Helms was on the of the stodgy, old white arms firmly holding the country in place. He was a segregationist, arguing that the Feds had not place in telling states they couldn’t keep African-Americans out of better-funded white schools. He was fiercely opposed to an AIDS research bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy in 1988 because he said that no case of AIDS could be found that wasn’t “traced in origin to sodomy.”
In other words, Helms represents every regressive social policy in the book, and current Senator Ted Cruz (R-CANADA) apparently has a huge man-crush on the bigoted veteran Senator. Speaking to an audience at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, Cruz told those silly enough to pay attention, “It’s every bit as true now as it was then,” Cruz said. “We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.” Now, how can ol’ Teddy say things like that and not presume that people will take him to mean that the Senate needs more racists, more people who are anti-LGBT equality in office?
Stay class, Senator Cruz.
As a reminder of just how blatantly racist Helms was, here’s his infamous “Hands” ad. See if you can pick up on the oh-so-subtle race baiting in it.