The news comes this morning that Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. has 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 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.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.