“Every day’s a gift” was Congressman Walter Jones’ response when asked how he was doing. It was a reflection of his Christian faith, a faith that informed his politics and his life.
Congressman Jones passed away this Sunday on his 76th birthday, after being placed in hospice care following a fall. His passing is a great loss to the country and to the cause of peace and liberty.
Elected to Congress in 1994, he first came to national prominence as the leader of the effort to get the House of Representatives' cafeterias to rename french fries “freedom fries” to protest France’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
But as the war dragged on and he learned more about the falsehoods behind the war (in part by attending Ron Paul’s weekly Liberty Lunches), he came to regret supporting the war.
Unlike others who casually admit the Iraq war was a mistake as they parrot war party propaganda for the next war, Congressman Jones became a fierce opponent of the military-industrial complex and the neocon propaganda apparatus that sustain it.
He also became a fierce opponent of the GOP establishment, which he never forgave for misleading the country into war.
Speaking out against the war party was a politically risky move for Congressman Jones, as his district included Camp Lejeune, one of the larger military bases in the country. Yet he served several terms while defeating well-funded primary challengers. This proves that voters will respond to simple speech and honesty and that military families will support those commited to ensuring their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters are not sent abroad to kill and be murdered in a “foolish war.”
Congressman Jones was also one of the most sincere, friendly, and decent people on Capitol Hill. He had a kind word for staff and never acted as though his congressional pin made him better than others.
All who knew him mourn his passing, but also express our gratitude at having the privilege to know this remarkable, humble man.