Sunday, February 17, 2019

February 17, 2019

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

The Death of North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr.


It did not pass unnoticed; yet it still came as something of a shock.  The death of longtime North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr., one week ago reminded us of both the fragility of life and the palpable fact that our culture—our present society—is sorely lacking in the kinds of leaders and leadership that we once took for granted. And that paucity, that absence, has had a deleterious, nearly fatal effect on what remains of the American republic.

The late Representative Walter B. Jones, Jr., who passed away this past Sunday, February 10, in Greenville, North Carolina, was a giant among men and a singular member of the United States Congress. He was unbending in his devotion to the Constitution and his upright adherence to a strict standard of personal and public morality. Yet, he was also known—by friend and foe alike—as one of the most gracious and kindest men in Congress. Back in his eastern North Carolina district, at home in Farmville, or visiting all the rural backways, his constituents knew him as “Mr. Walter,” always attentive to their needs and issues.

Walter Jr. was the son of Congressman Walter Jones Sr., an old-fashioned Southern Democrat, who represented the district for years. Like his dad, Walter Jr. began life as a conservative Democrat. For several terms he served as a State Senator in the North Carolina General Assembly. But, like many Southerners he changed parties, and after his father’s death, he ran and was elected to that seat in 1994, and held it until this past week, nearly twenty-five years. But he was never a good fit with the Republican Party as it seemed to embrace globalism and principles that owed more to “big government” and the progressive Left than the traditions of North Carolina and the old American republic. In 2008 he endorsed the candidacy of Representative Ron Paul for the presidency.

During that long tenure he gained a reputation for absolute probity and honesty of character, a deep and abiding Christian faith (he was a convert to the Catholic faith at age 31), and an unswerving fealty to the letter of constitutional government. Although he initially supported the American invasion of Iraq, he came to deeply regret that position, and took measures after that to comfort the families and widows of veterans of that conflict. And he opposed consistently further American interventionism overseas, just as he opposed government overreach domestically in the United States.

For his consistent opposition to foreign aid, including massive aid to the state of Israel, Jones incurred the wrath of the Israeli lobby in the United States. In 2014, alone, in the GOP primary the Emergency Committee for Israel spent $317,000, and the Ending Spending Fund, spent $735,000, to defeat him. Leading Neoconservative Bill Kristol headed these efforts. But Jones was not anti-Israeli—his position was consistent across the board: he opposed nearly all foreign aid appropriations.

Each and every election Jones turned back his opposition, massively and overwhelmingly. His constituents knew him and trusted him. And he never let them down.

Representative Jones was a true gentlemen and an old school traditionalist, an admirer of the late Senator Jesse Helms. His door was always open, and he took his position as representative seriously.

He will be missed sorely.

A few days ago I had published at the Web site a short “in memoriam” which I authored about Congressman Jones. I pass it on now.


The Death of a Tar Heel: Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr.

By Dr. Boyd D. Cathey  2/16/2019

The news came Monday morning that Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. had died [on Sunday, February 10]. He had suffered for some time from a very serious neurological condition, and had been placed in Hospice about a week ago in Greenville, North Carolina. 

Representative Jones was one of--if not the--last of the old former Southern Democrat ("Jessecrat") traditionalist conservatives who left the corrupted Party of Jefferson after the Reagan-Bush years, but never was a good fit in the Neocon-directed Party of Lincoln. When his father Walter Sr, (the real last of the old Southern Democrats) passed away, Walter Jr. succeeded him in his congressional seat, and served for years as a stalwart naysayer to almost every form of American "exceptionalism" and foreign entanglement--from Iraq (he had originally supported American involvement, but then became a staunch opponent), to Afghanistan, to Syria, and opposed every expansion of big government and affirmative action and "civil rights."
He even found the "Freedom Caucus" in Congress a bit too liberal for his beliefs.
Like the late Senator Jesse Helms, whom he greatly admired, he was known as "Congressman No" to his colleagues; but his "no" votes were always predicated on firm and abiding principles of statecraft, grounded in the original Constitution and his traditionalist eastern North Carolina upbringing. And he was viewed by members of both parties as the finest and most gracious gentleman in Congress.

At every election the Establishment Republicans would run someone against Walter in the GOP primaries. For his stand against giving a blank check to Israel, Bill Kristol and AIPAC funded "conservative" candidates on various occasions and spent millions of dollars to defeat him.
But each time Walter turned them back, and usually with massive support in his district.
As a young man Walter became a convert to the Catholic Church. Years ago when I encountered him in an elevator (he was then a state senator in the North Carolina General Assembly, representing Pitt County, and I dealt with members at that time), I mentioned my own Catholic faith. I recall clearly that he responded: "I became a Catholic because I believe it to be true; but I did not become one to see it destroyed by liberalism."

Walter Jones will be missed deeply by patriotic Americans and North Carolinians, and those who understand what this nation was intended to be.  Of his like there are few left...and we are perishing because of that.

1 comment:

  1. Let me make a small clarification here: It was not AIPAC, strictly speaking, that attempted to defeat Congressman Jones in 2014.The Emergency Committee for Israel, an advocacy group that doesn’t disclose its donors, spent $317,000, and the Ending Spending Fund, a super PAC that partially discloses donors, spent $735,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a research group that tracks money in politics. Both groups targeted Jones for his refusal to give a blank check...but, as I indicated, it was not due to any anti-Israeli bias, but to Jones' consistent opposition to foreign aid.


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