The following is a column by Mark Shiver, host of the “What Matters in North Carolina” podcast.
One man stood alone watching and listening as something he had staunchly supported was being changed before his very eyes. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest presides over the state Senate, and when the debate over repealing HB 2 was going on in that chamber last week, all he could do was stand, watch and listen.
As president of the Senate, Forest keeps things moving, making sure the rules are followed and that the calendar for a given day is worked through in the decorum that characterizes the Senate. But he is not allowed to weigh-in or join in the debate.
On Tuesday, April 4, Forest was the guest on the “What Matters in North Carolina” podcast. “It wasn’t one of the brighter moments for me, that’s for sure,” Forest said of the repeal of HB2. “I love presiding over the Senate, it’s a great honor … That moment was tough, but we’ll move on.”
In the past year, misinformation about HB2 from the mainstream media has been published as “truth,” and sports radio hosts have exposed their extreme liberal bias, as well as their misunderstanding of the issues surrounding HB2. Corporate bullying aimed at North Carolina has been pervasive, supported by then-candidate and now Gov. Roy Cooper.
One man has stood resolute in his convictions. Forest has not wilted under the spotlight or withdrawn in the face of attack. He said after the HB2 was repealed and replaced with HB142, “I stood strong. It took me a day or so to get over myself, but I stood strong. We fought the good fight.”
Forest continued, “I’m proud of the stance we’ve taken. I’m proud of the work we did to protect women and kids in bathrooms. I’m proud of the work we did to uphold the Constitution. I feel good about that. I think our people and our team can feel good about that.”
Reflecting on the past year and HB2, Forest said, “I think that the only thing that was wrong with House Bill 2 was the false narrative and the negative narrative from the Left, from the media, from the leftist groups out there who were coming against North Carolina and boycotting North Carolina.”
Clearly the looming threat of the NCAA not setting championship games in North Carolina for the next several years played a part in the expeditious repeal of HB2 last week. Forest echoed the sentiments of many who were not opposed necessarily to the language of the repeal bill, HB142, but to the coercion and extortion that was imposed on our state by what is a non-profit organization supposedly in existence to facilitate athletics for students.
“I think generally speaking that’s a bad precedent for our state to bow down to leftist organizations,” Forest said, “You know we have supermajorities in House and the Senate. I think it’s bad precedent to bow down to these organizations and say, ‘As long as you raise enough stink, and as long you craft a good enough narrative against any legislation that we write, you can come against it and we’ll change it.’”
The NCAA issued a less than enthusiastic response to the repeal of HB 2and its having been replaced with HB142. In a display that illustrated that it cares more about the pressure it receives from a few loud militant voices on the Left, and less than about the millions of people who are not engaged in trying to erode family and other long-held values, the NCAA’s statement said,
“We are actively determining site selections, and this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment. If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.’
With the stoke of a pen, the NCAA cemented itself as the arbiter of all future legislation in North Carolina. Forest responded, “Extortion is just not a good way to conduct public policy. It doesn’t work. Appeasement never works.”
Forest continued, “Here you have this unaccountable, unelected, non-profit organization who is saying, ‘Well, as long as we think you’re doing what we want you to do, we’re not going to come against you.’ That’s really a sad day for politics in America, and quite frankly, something needs to be done about the NCAA.”
North Carolina ironically just won the NCAA national men’s basketball championship, while the organization is digging its fingers deeper into the state’s neck with a chokehold. Sports is important in the Old North State, but at what price? Currently that price is being exacted in the form of bullying, and that is a sad day for politics in America … and in North Carolina.