Walter Jones, a man of courage

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Entitlement, grandiosity, arrogance overlying insecurity, sensitivity to criticism, as well as hunger for acclaim are traits identified by Jerrold M. Post, George Washington University professor of psychiatry and political psychology.

This pattern of political narcissism is observably bipartisan as well as applicable to nearly all elected, be it local, state or at the federal level.

The probability of any profile in courage by any elected, is predictably and disturbingly low. And for that profile in courage to be known by the public, is and should be, a most noteworthy event in these United States, for sure.

Walter B. Jones, Jr., Republican congressman from North Carolina, died Sunday, February 10, on his 76th birthday. Congressman Jones’ district included Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. His nationally acclaimed media-based moment was the rebranding of French fries as “freedom fries.”

The Jones obituary in the New York Times describes, in significant detail, the Congressman’s long and painful profile in courage.

“…he had an epiphany one day at a memorial ceremony at Camp Lejeune for Marine Sgt Michael Bitz, 31, who had been killed in Iraq shortly after the invasion while trying to evacuate his wounded comrades.”

“During the ceremony, the sergeant’s 2 year-old son, Joshua, dropped a toy. A young Marine in dress uniform reached down to pick it up and handed it back.”

“‘And the boy looked up at him, and the Marine looked down, and then it hit me,’” Mr. Jones told Mother Jones magazine years later.”

‘This little boy would never know his daddy.’”

“His grief at this scene would lead to a dramatic political conversion against the war, putting him in opposition to his own party and President George Bush. It also led to years of trying to atone for his earlier support.”

“Congressman Jones decided to write letter to the families and extended families of every American killed in any conflict which the United States has been involved since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

“‘That was, for me, asking God to forgive me of my mistake.’”

“At his death, Mr. Jones had written more than 12,000 letters.”

“Feeling duped, he declared his opposition to the war in 2005 and pressed the administration for an exit strategy from Iraq.”

“Mr. Jones was particularly galled by Vice-President Dick Cheney’s statement that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.”

“‘Lyndon Johnson’s probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War, and he probably needs to move over for Dick Chaney,” Mr. Jones said in 2013 at a meeting of Young Americans for Liberty in Raleigh, NC.

“I did not do what I should have done, to read and find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Jones told NPR in 2015.

“Because I did not do my job then, I helped kill 4,000 Americans,” he said. “And, I will go to my grave regretting that.”


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