Jesse Helms, whose political career spanned over half a century, has departed this mortal coil on one of his favorite days, the fourth of July.

"Jesse loved the fourth of July," said Ned Parsons, spokesman for the Helms estate. "He loved everything about it - the kids, the music, the fried chicken, watermelon, and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. And he loved setting off fireworks while blasting out some of his beloved U2."

Helms helped put the oppose in opposition leader. During his long career he opposed many things. He fought against the Civil Rights movement, and when that didn't work out for him, he fought against Martin Luther King day. He fought against homosexuals, even disparaging the use of the word gay because "there's nothing gay about them". He fought against foreign aid, against Marilyn Manson, against modern art, Bill Clinton, and everything else that stuck in his craw. In the end, however, Helms will probably be best remembered for his friendship with Bono.

"Those two were like peas in a pod," says bassist Adam Clayton. "I never could figure it out, but after a while I just got used to seeing the old guy around. He was in the studio half the time when we were recording 'Achtung Baby', played tambourine on a couple of tracks. Used to really bug me. I'd say, come on Bono, lets go grab a couple pints, and don't you know, there'd be that prick Jesse, tagging along. No disrespect to the deceased, but I'm kind of glad the old bugger is gone."

 

2008, Mark Hoback