No matter how hard I try I can't understand how any society that claims to cherish freedom, justice, and democracy as much as the United States of America does would allow a creature like Jesse Helms to have power in shaping the policy of the country. What's even more disgusting is the fact that he is treated with respect and dignity when he deserves to be shunned, if not tried for crimes against humanity.
In the 1960s, he fought against the racial integration of schools in North Carolina. Since his election to the senate in 1972, he has done his best to deny rights and liberties to any group he sees as not fitting into his narrow definition of the world order. Whether it's been women seeking equality under the law, Hispanics and African Americans asking for assistance to redress the years of inequality in quality of education and job availability, and for the last twenty years anything allowing homosexuals even the appearance of equality in the eyes of the law, his has been the voice raised loudest in opposition.
His apologists say things like, "Well, one thing you can say for Jesse is that you know where he stands on things, which isn't something you can say about lots of politicians." Well, you can say the same thing about Hitler and Stalin but that didn't change the fact they were despotic monsters. Anyway, what difference does it make that he's honest about being a bigoted hate-monger or not? It doesn't change the fact that he is one.
At first glance, you wouldn't think you could find someone more diametrically opposed to Jesse Helms then Tim Kirkman if you tried. He's gay, works in the arts as a film director and scriptwriter, and lives in the epicenter of the liberal north, New York City. What could these two men have in common?
Actually, quite a lot; they were both born in the same small town in North Carolina, attended the same high school, spent a year at the same college, worked in radio and for newspapers while in school, and both obsess over gay men. For all those reasons, and maybe the last one in particular, Tim returned to his hometown with camera and crew in an attempt to understand Jesse Helms, and the state that has elected him to the Senate since 1972 that they both call home.