Wednesday, July 09, 2008


From one L.F. Eason III:

RALEIGH -- L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he'd ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.

When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms. After several hours' delay, one of Eason's employees hung the flags at half-staff.

...He told his staff that he did not think it was appropriate to honor Helms because of his "doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice" and his opposition to civil rights bills and the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday....

Helms was a hatemonger, not just a garden-variety partisan, so in a better world he wouldn't be honored by the state. (In a better world, obviously, he wouldn't have been elected repeatedly for decades.) So my hat's off to Eason.

It's an ironically appropriate tribute, too -- a guy who regularly patted himself on the back for blocking consensus being denied a statewide honor, if only temporarily, by one man who just said "No."

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