If there’s one thing that’s fun to watch about the usually tame proceedings that occur during House hearings, it’s when someone comes along and shakes things up.
“Shaking things up” is exactly what happened last week when North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican, appeared before a Democrat-led House subcommittee hearing on the Voting Rights Act and supposed voter discrimination.
Also appearing remotely was fellow North Carolinian Rev. Bill Barber, leader of the national Poor People’s Campaign and a frequent Democratic guest for events related to voting rights. He also led the radical left-wing “Moral Monday” movement here in North Carolina.
But while Barber’s remarks were predictable, Robinson’s set Democrats on edge.
Robinson, who is the first African-American lieutenant governor in North Carolina history, ripped into Democrats during his opening statement, stating that it was “preposterous” and “insulting” to suggest black Americans were incapable of understanding how to obtain a valid form of voter ID.
“Am I to believe that black Americans who have overcome the atrocities of slavery, who were victorious in the civil rights movement, and who now sit in the highest levels of government cannot figure out how to get a free ID to vote?” he asked.
“That we need to be coddled by politicians because they don’t think we can figure out how to make our voices heard? Are you kidding me?” Clearly, he was outraged. “The notion that black people must be protected from a free ID to vote is not just insane, it’s insulting.”
Robinson then pointed to a recent trip Vice President Kamala Harris made to the state, using it to argue that Democrat claims of respecting diverse black voices ring hollow with black conservatives like himself and others.
“Just a few days ago the vice president went and visited the very place I mentioned earlier, the lunch counter in Woolworth’s, to see the place where history was changed,” he said. “You know who wasn’t invited to be there with her? My good friend and civil rights icon Clarence Henderson. The person whose picture is in history books, the person who actually sat in the chair and endured to make sure that black voices were heard.”
“The notion that black people must be protected from a free ID to vote is not just insane, it’s insulting.”
Lt. Gov Mark Robinson
As to why? Robinson got right to the point. “The goal of some individuals in government is not to hear the voices of all black Americans; it is to hear the voices of those that fit their narrative, and ultimately that help keep one group in power.”
It was when Robinson and Texas Congressman Chip Roy had an exchange about the Republican vs. Democrat record on civil rights and voting rights that things got especially interesting.
After Roy noted how ridiculous it was for Democrats to suggest Republicans are trying to revive the Jim Crow era considering their history of opposing the racist laws that were put in place by Southern Democrats, Robinson again refused to mince words.
He told Democrats to “stop using me, as a black man, as your pawn… to push your agenda. I’m sick of it.” This caused an eruption among Democrats on the subcommittee, especially flamboyant committee chair Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), who proceeded to make use of his gavel numerous times to try to keep Roy and Robinson in check.
It wasn’t the first time in history a Southern Democrat tried to use their power to shush a black citizen, and sadly it won’t be the last. But the symbolism of it all was rather striking considering the hearing was, in part, about black voices allegedly being suppressed at the ballot box in the South.
At a time when it seems so many voices are being silenced due to fear of being “canceled,” Robinson establishing himself as a voice to be reckoned with is a welcome, refreshing change.
Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.