Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson saying controversial things could be a reality show. There’s easily enough content for multiple seasons. After all, his ascendency in North Carolina politics emerged from his confrontational speaking style. His mouth is what makes him so popular and disliked at the same time. Robinson even dares to weigh in on specific social issues where only one opinion is allowed now in the public square.
Robinson’s cultural err stems from his sharp criticism of the LGBTQ agenda and lifestyle. The remarks were made in June at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove. “There’s no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling children about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. Yes, I called it filth.”
That’s the offending snippet line from the speech I wrote about in a piece from June titled “Mark Robinson understands that politics solves very little.” The context refers to the teaching of human sexuality in schools.
Ironically, while his highlighted comments produced outrage, the overall theme and broader context of the speech is one many desperately need to hear: Politics will not solve the kind of problems that are spiritual or cultural in nature. This message is wholly lost on people who replace faith or the transcendent for the here and now.
Simply put, the modern left today puts its faith in the political world above else. If there is no meaning beyond this world, the political frenzy is only going to intensify. The right is guilty of this worldview, too. In the effort to stay relevant in the political arena, the right increasingly mimics the tactics and behavior of the left.
But Robinson was saying the opposite. He stressed the importance of churches and citizens doing their part to reform culture, which in turn impacts the political world. He’s a politician, but Robinson sees a need to reorder politics, even with his gruff, non-nuanced style.
Robinson often reminds us of a speeding locomotive with no brakes and a booming whistle. His political crash could prove epic, too. His remarks may indeed cost him future election wins. Obviously, many constituencies, citizens, and special interest groups are committed to making sure he never becomes governor.
Does anybody doubt that corporations will threaten to pull out of North Carolina if Robinson becomes governor?
Yet, very few politicians are contrasting the conflicting worldviews in society like Robinson does today. He lays it all out there. Sure, it’s not politically wise. It’s probably the quickest path to political suicide. Overall, Republicans have become much friendlier with the powerful LBGTQ community in recent years as culture has shifted. As political parties tend to do, they’ve changed because they are interested in self-preservation and viability.
Still, many North Carolinians agree with Robinson and fully back him. He’s a master at igniting his constituency. They laud his ways — his outspoken traditional worldview — while those on the other side shriek in terror.
Elections solve those issues. The proverbial bullseye might be a bit bigger on Robinson now. His path to governor may have narrowed. Still, who knows. Almost every political expert and pundit said it was impossible for Donald Trump to win the White House in 2016.
Robinson shouldn’t resign. He won’t anyway, and he didn’t break any laws. While we live in a pluralistic and extremely tolerant society — those are good things — millions are exhausted over political agendas in public schools.
Perhaps shocking to some in the media and in urban enclaves, millions of North Carolinians hold to a traditional view of human sexuality. They can voice their concerns and advocate a position that the family and churches be primary for sex education.
Each new controversy surrounding Robinson only seems to reinforce support from his constituency. Who resigns after that?
The left, the media, and even some Republicans will continue to attack Robinson, demanding that he exit stage left. They are armed with plenty of ammunition. They’d rather see him grovel for a bit before being canceled. Yet, others feel Robinson is just getting started. Politics is often unpredictable, which only adds to Robinson’s relevance in today’s clash of worldviews.
Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor.