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:
Welcome to the home of Misfit Politics!
The idea behind all of this developed over Twitter DM. A group of conservatives formed to trade ideas, critique policies, and sneer at leftist ideology. We found that we learn a lot and crack each other up. Now we want to share our little views of the world with whoever will listen. We don't really know where this is headed, but hope you'll stick around!
We are kicking off with the blog section of our project. There will be some regular contributors, a few recurring columns, video and audio posts, and probably some guest writing. Not all need be political. We may even post gifs of cats scared of cucumbers all day. Who knows? We don't really have filters. What are those anyway? The things you put in your A/C? Pshhhh.
We hope you enjoy our endeavor to enlighten, entertain, and probably offend!*
*Warning: Do not proceed if you wear your feelings as a badge of honor.
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.