Rep. Hank Johnson arrested at voter rights protest... irony ensued

Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP

Rep. Hank Johnson played a useful idiot for groups like Black Lives Matter on Thursday. He participated in a protest outside the Hart Senate Office building and was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police.

The 66-year-old Democrat from Georgia was part of a group of 10 men arrested during a “Brothers Day of Action on Capitol Hill” voting rights protest. The protest was organized by Black Voters Matter, in collaboration with Color of Change (BLM group) and the NAACP. Some media outlets describe the protest as peaceful, natch, yet the men were arrested for blocking the entrance of the Hart Senate Office Building. Blocking the free flow of movement anywhere by protesting, whether it is a city street, a highway entrance, or an office building, is not a peaceful action. But, the legacy media’s narrative is that all BLM-style of protests are peaceful. Police don’t arrest peaceful people, especially the Capitol Police. How many BLM protests did we see during the Summer of Love in D.C. where no arrests were made?

At an event called “Brothers Day of Action on Capitol Hill,” Johnson linked arms with nine other activists — among them Black Voters Matter’s Cliff Albright, whose group organized the protest; the Rev. Mark Thompson, Color of Change president Rashad Robinson and former NAACP president Cornell William Brooks — and chanted, “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! The filibuster has got to go!”

They blocked the entrance to the Hart Senate Office Building and were subsequently arrested by Capitol Police for “unlawfully demonstrating,” charged with “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.”

They were arrested for “unlawfully demonstrating,” charged with “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.” This is standard when the Capitol Police do get around to arresting protesters on Capitol Hill – they are charged with crowding, obstructing, or incommoding. For example, that is what Jane Fonda is charged with when she sticks around long enough during one of her Fire Drill Fridays protests in D.C. You’ll notice that the chant is to get rid of the filibuster. The irony is that as they were doing that, Texas lawmakers are being applauded by Democrats in Washington for fleeing the state rather than doing their jobs because election integrity legislation is moving forward. Yes, a filibuster, if you will. Texas Democrats are filibustering from afar. Apparently, filibusters are only acceptable if Democrats are using them. Democrats in Washington want to strip Republicans, the minority party, of their ability to filibuster legislation.

Rep. Hank Johnson only gets into the news if he screws up. He frequently does so and it’s usually in a hilarious way. Who can forget that Johnson is the brave protector of Guam? In 2010, he raised eyebrows and in my case, caused an outburst of laughter, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

In a discussion regarding a planned military buildup on the Pacific island, Johnson expressed some concerns about the plans to Adm. Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific fleet.

“My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize,” Johnson said. Willard paused and replied, “We don’t anticipate that.”

To his credit, Adm. Willard delivered his answer with a straight face. Now every time I see Johnson’s face or read about his antics, all I can think of is what a maroon the man is.

Johnson posted his arrest on Twitter because that is what these actions are all about – a lawmaker joins in to get attention and then fundraises off the publicity. It is always about them, not a particular cause.

A reporter from Atlanta documented it on social media.

It’s a small group of men. I have a question about this protest and one a few days ago which included the arrest of Rep. Joyce Beatty, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She participated with a small group of women who marched and then entered the Senate building. Why are black Democrats so sexist? Why do they separate groups according to gender? That doesn’t seem too progressive, does it? Did the men feel obligated to keep up with the women?

Johnson’s office says he was protesting voter suppression – a problem that doesn’t exist but that’s the approved narrative. In Georgia, Johnson’s home state, a record number of voters voted in 2018 and then in 2020. That includes black voters. One of the two candidates running for governor of Georgia in 2018 was a black woman, a Democrat.

Johnson’s office confirmed the congressman was among those arrested Thursday, and that he had been protesting “voter suppression bills and laws throughout the country, including Georgia, that target students, the elderly and people of color.”

“In the spirit of his dear friend and mentor — the late Congressman John Lewis — Rep. Johnson was getting in ‘good trouble’ fighting for and protecting civil and voting rights for all Americans,” Johnson spokesman Andy Phelan said in a statement.

Johnson and others were demonstrating to push Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The former would implement standards for voter access and revamp rules on campaign finance and ethics, while the latter would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Another bit of irony is that the Texas fleebaggers agreed to go to Washington to do the national party’s bidding. They were supposed to lobby senators to pass the For the People Act. That legislation, a bill meant to federalize elections and provide a permanent Democrat majority, has fallen off the radar as Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure bill is the Senate’s focus. The Texas lawmakers’ filibuster is a spectacular fail so far. Hank Johnson did his part Thursday to play court jester.