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The News' unsolicited vilification of Sen. Jesse Helms, "No great loss," illustrates to me how much the editorial board does not understand what America is and has stood for for 225 years.

First, Helms is neither Francisco Flores nor Pieter Botha. He has been a dutiful U.S. senator from North Carolina for the past 28 years. His anti-Communist attitudes are reflective of his patriotism for our country, and those attitudes have protected our country from being sold to Iran (Jimmy Carter) and China (Bill Clinton).

Helms and his counterpart from neighboring South Carolina, Sen. Strom Thurmond, have exercised the belief that America belongs to Americans. Helms should not be apologetic for his views, and he has held to his standard what he believes to be morally correct.

Second, let us not forget it was the people of North Carolina who elected him, and they did so five times. The esteem that Americans have for the Senate is not the responsibility of Helms, rather it is the burden of Americans to elect people who represent them. That's a form of government known as a representative republic, not a democracy.

Washington will be losing a cornerstone in Helms, and will soon lose another in Thurmond. I am reminded of the saying, "If you take the stones out of a bridge, it will soon collapse." Washington may not be in danger of total collapse, but when Helms leaves, it will have lost one of its sages.



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