Senator Helms speaks (Emmett Tyrrell , August 11, 2005, Townhall)
In “Here’s Where I Stand,” Helms chronicles reminiscences of scores of friends, Barry Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan and his great friend Lady Thatcher. At the end of the senator’s long career, a frail but spirited Thatcher came to the dedication of his Helms Center in rural North Carolina. She stayed for the entire three-day ceremony. She knew she was with friends. Helms also remembers those with whom he has disagreed. That would be every liberal Democrat from the past thirty years. Unfortunately, he is too much the gentleman to pass on a bad word about any of them. Even Boy Clinton gets a polite send-off.
There are two topics on which Helms is particularly worth reading, race relations and the United Nations. On race relations, he manfully comes out and makes the case for states’ rights and the integration that he seems to think could have been worked out in the last quarter of the 20th century without heavy-handed federal involvement. I am not sure his optimism is warranted. The denial of Constitutional freedoms had been suffered by blacks for a long time. A jolt of federal power did the trick. The extension of federal power into areas not recognized by generations of Americans (and not always salutary) now seems to be receding. Blacks have their rights, and with the exception of affirmative action’s enduring use, the Constitutional balance seems to be reemerging. I accept Helms’ insistence that he favored equal rights. I just doubt his approach would have worked.
On the United Nations, he has my vote every time. Wherever he mentions that arrogant, corrupt organization, he is on the money. At the very end of his memoir, he reprints his very compelling speech to the United Nations as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There he notified the assembled crooks and agents of tyranny that American sovereignty cannot be usurped. It is dependent on the “consent of the American people.” He reminds them of the dreadful job they have done as peacekeepers and conflict managers. And he urges an end to corruption.
Bearing in mind that this past week saw the first conviction of a UN oil-for-food crook in what is the largest fraud case in world history, I think we can conclude that old Sen. Helms’ memoir makes for timely reading.
The Senator graciously allowed us to use his piece, American Sovereignty and the UN (Jesse Helms, Winter 2000, National Interest), in our book, which will be coming out this Fall.