Regular Contributor Raymond
Editor's Note: The following was originally published on RayForFay.com, where you can learn more about Raymond, his positions, and his campaign for Fayetteville City Council Alderman Ward 2, Position 1. MisfitsPolitics has enjoyed hosting Raymond's work and we believe his voice has been an important and essential addition in the current political climate. We proudly support his efforts to address his involvement with Misfits and be transparent in his contributions to our site.
The past 48 hours have been an eye-opener in the world of politics. From misconstrued words to the surfacing of opinions that create hurt feelings to outright smears and lies being spread at the expense of my candidacy, this has been a learning experience. Even though this is a nonpartisan race, I would like to address something that has been on the minds of many in Fayetteville and in Ward 2.
Many of the op-eds that have circulated on Facebook were posted to the blog “Misfits Politics,” where I was (and still am) a contributor since November 2016, the day after the general election. I felt like my voice and the voice of others like me (Democrats with conservative leanings) were not equally represented in mainstream media or our government. This is a party that my family and I spent our entire lives championing, voting down ballot for in most every election, and a party I thought had my best interests at heart. I feel like that party turned its back on the working class, evangelicals, and even its black constituency with its need to push hardline progressive and socialist thoughts. And any sort of conservative thought that was once merely an agree-to-disagree pass is now a means to brand you as a bigot or self-loathing. Voices like mine were not being heard and I wanted other Democrats (especially people of color and those on the LGBTQI spectrum) who felt the same way to know they were not alone. I still consider myself a Democrat, even if I think the national party has completely lost touch with its core constituents. And the folks that run “Misfits Politics” and my fellow contributors have never judged me for being a Democrat; in fact, they have been extremely fair to me and have always been inclusive, even when my thoughts run counter to theirs.
These posts were not a secret. I proudly mention “Misfits Politics” in my campaign’s press release and I posted all of the op-eds on various social media accounts, including Facebook. I deleted that Facebook account earlier this summer because I was repeatedly harassed and called racial slurs by folks in the progressive extremist community who claimed falsehoods about discussions that took place on my timeline. One of those folks included a former friend (a white female) whose whose wedding I emceed not even a month before that who addressed me from a shadow account as “a house slave” who was “ashamed to be black” because I blocked her and other trolls from harassing me and other people on my page. As of today, she is still making these attacks against me on other candidate’s pages. Her husband also works in local news in case you need to understand the power of the media, social media, and how words twisted without full context can impact someone’s character and reputation.
The feelings expressed in those op-eds are my thoughts. A lot of far leftists (be them extremist progressives or socialists) obviously don’t like those posts. Quotes were taken out of context without the entire post being read or even considered to push a narrative that would hurt my campaign and distract you, the voter, from the real issues we face. What I ask all of you to do is consider the source of these attacks, consider what their agenda is, and also consider whether these attacks are in the spirit of Fayetteville’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Diversity in a community isn’t just racial, gender, sexual, or socioeconomic. It’s also political and religious (including Christianity). Diversity encompasses many facets, not a group think mentality of far leftist thoughts and ideals.
Please know this isn’t a criticism of liberals in Fayetteville. Many liberals I’ve met over the years I call dear friends who have always had my back and who have always meant well. This is about the movement of far left extremism; the socialists and progressives who have hijacked the spirit of liberalism and have opted to use bully tactics to spread hate and advocate for violence and blacklisting against anyone who don’t approach topics in the same way they do. For this particular group of so-called open-minded individuals to spread lies, serve up vicious attacks, and malign me(a person of color and an openly gay male) for not participating in their group think reveals perhaps they are the main source of the growing threat of racism, homophobia, and white supremacy in this country.
I have no regrets and will make no apologies for the posts made on “Misfits Politics.” They are my opinions, thoughts, and words conveyed about delicate subjects and concerns that other Democrats like myself have about the direction of the party and, most important, the direction of this country. My only wish is that I didn’t take more time posting my take about other subjects or collaborating with other contributors (Republicans and those who are further to the right of the conservative spectrum than I am) on topics that showed in good nature what we agreed and disagreed with. After all, if America is truly the melting pot we want it to be, we don’t exclude others and the right to their opinions because we don’t like them.
Today, one of my fellow opponents saw me having coffee with a candidate from another ward. I reached out to this candidate well before Wednesday’s meeting to express my desire to exchange ideas, should we both win the election and work together. My opponent saw this exchange and playfully called our conversation “collusion.” When the candidate from another ward said to him that they were getting a recap of the events over the last few days, his response was, “It’s politics. What can I say?” Really? What can you say as an elected official and a candidate? You could denounce the ugly division you are witnessing and ask your staunch supporters(as you did at the forum) to focus on the issues and your record. Politics doesn’t have to be business as usual, especially in Fayetteville. We can and should voice our support and opposition for candidates and issues without ugly exchanges and the spread of smears and falsehoods.
Ward 2, I would love nothing more than to have your trust and your vote so we can get our city focused on important issues and less on the mob mentality of certain groups and national division. We need more focus on issues that affect all of us, such as affordable housing(which includes a careful and considerate approach to development), safety for all of our residents(including our homeless population), better transportation and access, and city transparency in a way that is easier for the average Fayettevillian to access, read, and understand.
Again, this race is one of the most important ones we’ve faced in almost a decade. Our town is drastically changing before our eyes and we need a city council that focuses less on phony concern and feel good politics and more on making certain that our city experiences growth without pushing out the working class. We need a Fayetteville whose commitment to diversity isn’t just group think politics. We also need a Fayetteville that is friendly to local businesses, select chain and retail businesses, and is financially sustainable beyond The University, Football Season, and even my friends at the headquarters up north. And I truly believe the only person in this race that will fight for this town and fight for you regardless of who you are is me.
Below is a list of all of Raymond's contributions to Misfits in chronological order:
Regular Contributor Brad Slager
Yes, the press is currently horrible. Cagey news consumers have become improved as a result.
For all the hand wringing and furrowed brows we see in the media over “fake news,” there was a lightly regarded article on the subject from April of last year that is deeply interesting. There are a couple of reasons it was bypassed by the talking heads in the press, first being it was from the BBC. Secondly, it was a true narrative-buster, in that the Brits dared to point out that on the faux reporting front there is plenty found of the anti-Trump variety.
Snopes, that favored debunker of media myths, announced then that they had actually been busied with exposing more fake stories about Republicans than those that were anti-Democrat. Further disrupting the notion that “stupid MAGA-hatters” are the ones duped by the fakery, one expert asked to study the issue of false reports on social media found the opposite in effect. “The stereotypes of it being simply right-wing and simply uneducated are 100% not true."
Their company conducted a social media experiment. It fed false news stories geared to towards left-wing and right-wing mindsets, and then studied the reactions on both sides. “On the left if you're consuming fake news you're 34 times more likely than the general population to be a college graduate,” said the director of the study. So fake stories about the president actually get traction with liberals? Huh, we were told that never happens.
Well, this would mean that the president’s accusations about the news networks could actually be correct! So of course that report needs to be driven out to the wilderness and left by the side of the road in unwanted-pet-fashion. And, of course, this avoidance actually proves things out in the process.
What has been curious/sad/hilarious (circle all that apply) is that almost any charge or accusation being made by the pundits on this particular matter is something they are actually guilty of themselves. They call the veracity of certain stories into question, while belching out fake content. They charge that certain outlets are unreliable, as they discredit themselves in the same breath. And while condescending that the audience does not always know better, they fall prey to the very gullibility they describe.
CNN - long a dubious source of veracity - has spiraled down to the level of self-parody in the brief Trump era. Recent weeks have seen the outlet proffering items intended as serious journalism that would embarrass a stringer from Grit. They have speculated on the “disappearance” of the First Lady (recovering from surgery, and spotted by other journalists in the White House), they claimed the president described immigrants in general as “animals” (he was specifically referring to gang members), and news “analyst” Brian Stelter just got stung repeating a charge from Rachel Maddow the White House manipulated transcripts of the press meeting with Vladamir Putin (this had quickly been corrected by The Washington Post, and amusingly by Stelter’s own network).
That there is a fair amount of projection in play is obvious. They rail against the specter of false stories, but feel perfectly justified in delivering any fake or unverified stories, so long as those are damaging to the president. As a prime example of how unconcerned they are with imaging, currently the network is blasting the story of Trump receiving a World Cup soccer ball from Putin that had a computer chip imbedded within. The manufacturer Adidas uses this technology for in-game metrics, but if they can make ANY tie to Russia and conspiracy, run with it!
As a conservative, and tangentially in the media industry, I am well attuned to the manipulations made by the news outlets in the name of The Narrative. It used to be the phrase “the newsmakers” was applied to those being reported upon, but as we now know today that accurately describes the journalists who create the talking points. As such I know that relying upon a lone source for details on a story is folly. I endeavor to flesh out more about a specific item in the cycle. This has become necessary, but it has also made me a better consumer, and better commentator.
Conditioned as we have become to protect our viewpoints by getting the complete picture ultimately leads to us being vastly better prepared as citizens. Wading into the sceptic minefield that is social media is easily survived as a result of this comprehensive consumption. And being a well-informed citizen brings about a curious irony; those delivering the news to us feel threatened that we dare seek out multiple outlets for perspective.
The biggest reason outlets like CNN recoil at “alternative” sources is that it dilutes their messaging. Becoming something other than the primary source for a story means they lose the power to craft it, and power is sapped. So attacking the alternatives becomes the norm, and working to have those varied sources degraded in quality and then expunged from social media is needed. And as the BBC study shows, the well-heeled on the left feel they possess the monopoly on proper political thought; our obtaining defined knowledge on issues threatens that stature.
So they work to change algorithms to marginalize certain outlets, and even go so far to ostracise others from the platforms. Again, the mentality here is that people on social media are too stupid to realize they are being duped. They need the leaders at FaceBook and Twitter, as well as the news “experts” at CNN, to guide them and coach their consumption.
Which makes it hilariously revealing when those same experts fall prey to the very scourge they warn about. It has been with great amusement that we have watched various members of the media get bent out of shape by a video from Allie Beth Stuckey, at CRTV. She posted a clearly satirical interview with Democrat “It Girl” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, using footage from her disastrous Frontline appearance. And the press lost their minds over it.
Tweets, articles, op-ed columns and other accusatory reports came from actual journalists who either claimed outrage at the temerity of her falsifying an “interview,” or better still, claimed they were fooled by the obvious gag. (Stuckey even designated she *grills* Ocasio-Cortez in her original post.) That they were so bothered speaks volumes.
If the best way to anger the Devil is to mock him, then this reaction in the press explains it all in waging the battle against their narrative. Using their style to ridicule a candidate they have warmly embraced is beyond the pale for them. That they resort to claiming this was a falsification, or intended to deceive viewers, is their wan attempt at “othering” Stuckey. She was effective, so she needs to be ostracized by their decree.
Our ability to gather information on our own these days is key to getting these results. As long as we continue to arm ourselves with the facts we are essentially using their own ammunition. That their professional sloth and social avarice drives us to other outlets to obtain those bullets is all the more hilarious.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.