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fireworksIn case you missed it, there was one less patriot enjoying the fireworks this Fourth of July: Senator Jesse Helms passed away at the ripe old age of 86.Plenty of my friends are not mourning this loss; after all, the Senator was staunchly opposed to issues affecting people of color, women, queers, and artists (not to mention the people themselves). As a feminist artist and former AIDS activist, I too know the devastating affects of his 52-year political reign. Times weren?t pretty when Senator Helms?s voice was heard loud and clear.I?d also like to point out that I?m not celebrating the good Senator?s death; rather, I?d like to think that he was surrounded by his friends, family, and loved ones when his heart took its last intake of blood. I smile when I imagine his loving wife, Dot, smoothing his hair and planting one last kiss upon his wrinkled brow. After all, there are so many folks who weren?t afforded such kindnesses when they passed from AIDS?And I?d hate to have another person die scared, in pain, and alone.Many folks are also hoping that the Senator has a one-way ticket to h-e- double hockey sticks. Again, this isn?t the case for me: I imagine heaven to be a place full of my loved ones. In my vision of heaven, the rockin? people of color, queers, feminists, sex-positive revolutionaries, and/or artists are all there and accounted for. I also hope that Senator Helms has found himself in heaven, and is learning to love them fully and splendidly in a way that his time on earth did not allow.Rest in peace, Jesse.sig