Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s life is shaped by financial hardship, family life, trains, churches, the military, and even professional wrestling. In other words, Robinson is an ordinary guy. Many political autobiographies are trite or even dreadful, but “We are the Majority!” offers much more than platitudes. His book provides interesting stories of personal failure and the life of a poor young kid in Greensboro. He experienced domestic violence in his family and chaotic home life at times. Robinson even had a short stint in the foster care system.
After his father died, he credits his mom with helping the family become more stable. He started going to church and called his conversion a process. After his father died, his mother had to provide for the family, and his mom’s s hard work as a custodian at North Carolina A&T undoubtedly shaped his strong work ethic. Robinson understands the dignity of work and has held several different jobs, from working in the pizza industry to assembling furniture for different companies.
Of course, Robinson’s own life experiences are a big part of his appeal. At this stage of his career, while certainly more outspoken than most, he still reflects the life of an ordinary citizen. It’s one of the reasons he’s a formidable option to be the next governor of North Carolina. People relate to Robinson and the highs and lows in the rhythms of life.
The fact that his home was foreclosed on or that there were times he couldn’t pay utility bills adds to everyman man mystique. Robinson takes ownership of this aspect of his life. While he mentions the downsides of trade agreements like NAFTA, he admits he did not prioritize personal spending at that time. He made mistakes. The fact that he owns up to them and continually returns to God’s grace and the importance of second chances is a recurring theme.
In fact, for me, Robinson is much more interesting when he is talking about his life and work experiences outside of the political arena.
Ideologues on the left will continue to loathe Robinson. To them, he’s a homophobic bigot who should not only be disqualified from political office but probably from public life altogether. Furthermore, they see him as a hypocrite on social issues since he aborted a child and is now an outspoken critic of abortion. While Christians are much more forgiving of Robinson’s sins, it’s odd that he mentions the abortion early in his book with a few lines and never goes back to it. It’s likely an obvious correction after the manuscript was finished, and an old Facebook post of his revealed that this tragedy occurred when he was unmarried and living with the woman that is now his wife.
Robinson is known nationally as a superb speech maker and communicator. He talks about the time he entered a speech competition at school and wowed teachers and audiences without any preparation. Later, he offers this prescient line: “If you can’t communicate with the dumbest person in the room, you are not the smartest person in the room.”
Watching wrestling helped to develop a worldview about life and politics. After all, “wrestling was a morality play, and the good guys won in the end,” he says. Robinson uses the past tense because he laments that even professional wrestling, like much of our world today, no longer has firm commitments to “right” and “wrong” in society.
Not surprisingly, Robinson remains outspoken in his book. He even calls Martin Luther King, Jr, a communist at one point. Almost oft-handedly. While King certainly worked with communists or communist sympathizers at times in the Civil Rights Movement, there is little to no evidence he was committed to Marxist Leninism or the Communist Party. King was under surveillance by the FBI for some of his connections to communist-leaning friends, eventually highlighting many of King’s moral failings that emerged publicly after his assassination.
Robinson is outspoken on many controversial issues, which is one of the reasons the left will do everything within its power to keep him from higher office or become the next governor of North Carolina. One can easily see corporations threatening to pull out of the state to slow any momentum for his campaign because of his past statements about human sexuality and family dynamics. Much of the media will attempt to derail his potential quest for the office. Of course, It’s already happening anytime he is deemed to say something controversial in today’s more relativistic society. There are parts of the book that need to be cleaned up grammatically. Robinson repeats himself unnecessarily at times, too.
Still, much of Robinson’s appeal stems from his authenticity. For a lot of people, he says it like it is when he opens his mouth. Robinson rightly understands that many forces in the world are more important than politics – including God and family. He’s not merely driven by ideology or a desire to win. He’s driven by his sense of right and wrong in life. He’s passionate about abortion, not merely because of his own experience, but he believes – correctly I might add, that abortion diminishes human life for all and promotes “degenerate, horrible behavior.”
The title of the book is “We are the Majority!” It’s a theme Robinson comes back to again and again. And it looks like we’ll get the chance to see if he’s right in 2024.
Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor and Second Amendment research fellow at the John Locke Foundation.
This book review first appeared in the October / November print edition of Carolina Journal.