Grayson, 53, is a first-time political candidate who describes himself as a U.S. Navy veteran, a Republican and a Christian minister. It was as a supporter of Ron Paul that he became convinced he should run, he said.
“I got an opportunity to see up close the corruption not just on the Democratic side, but within the Republican ranks as well, and I didn’t like it,” he said. “I decided it’s time to do something about it.”
The way the Republican establishment shut Ron Paul out of the race, he said, was the last straw. Grayson describes himself as a teller of uncomfortable truths.
“For instance, some of you in this room may refer to me in conversation as an African-American,” he said. “I would be offended if you did. Because I am not from Africa. Why have you divided us? I am just as much an American as you are. There is no need to pre-pin ‘American’ with ‘African.’”
On the NSA and Edward Snowden
Grayson said that from what he’s learned about National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, the man is whistleblower.
“Him exposing the fact that they were pulling the records of millions of Americans wholesale — that is a violation of our liberties and freedoms and it was wrong, as far as I’m concerned,” Grayson said. “I think he’s a hero for risking his own freedom, life if you will, to expose that.”
Congress had a duty to let the public know such spying was going on, a duty they failed to meet, he said.
“One said the reason that he didn’t expose it is that they’re bound by rules that prevent them from telling us, even though they were briefed on it,” Grayson said. “And I say, well that’s cowardice. If it’s in violation of the Constitution there is no way you should not have said something about it.”
On Common Core standards
Grayson described the controversial Common Core standards being rolled out in Georgia and other states as a classic example of one-size-fits-all education.
“The problem with Common Core is it is now going to give the federal government a direct link into the educational system because they are going to start funding it, they are going to start giving money to it,” Grayson said. “Guess what? When they start giving money to it, it won’t be long before they’ll start saying, ‘If you want to keep getting that money these are the things that you need to qualify for in order to keep getting that money.’”
He explained Gov. Nathan Deal’s support of Common Core by saying Deal was simply part of the establishment.
“That’s what they do,” Grayson said. “Government wants in and he’s giving them their in. That is the bottom line that we keep missing.”
On gun control
Grayson ripped the effort at gun control launched after the Connecticut school shootings as an attack on middle class America. The first gun control laws, he said, were used in the Carolinas by the Ku Klux Klan with the help of the government to keep black Americans from being able to defend themselves against night raids.
“Now it’s being utilized as a tool against whites,” Grayson said. “It ain’t going to bother most black folk. Who do you think owns most of the guns legally in America? White folks.”
The goal of gun control legislation is to identify who legally owns guns, limit what guns they can buy and ultimately disarm the citizenry, he said.
“Gun control is ultimately designed to limit a citizen’s ability to resist the tyrannical rule of a government,” he said. “It is not about hunting. The Second Amendment right is to keep our government in check. The police don’t want to go kick down a door of a well-armed occupant if they know he can meet force with force. That is all gun control is about.”
On off-shoring jobs
Another attack on middle class America is the government’s fostering of an environment so unfriendly to business that manufacturing has moved overseas, he said. Various “free trade” agreements have wiped out entire industries, such as the textile and garment industries in the United States.
“That attack is not on black folk,” he said. “Black folk have been unemployed when you look at the numbers from a comparative point of view. But now it’s getting middle class white Americans.”
Grayson said he intends to convince the black community to elect him to the U.S. Senate by asking them if their lives have changed significantly since Barack Obama became president.
“Well, no it didn’t. Now I’ve got their attention,” he said. “What will I say to the white American — are you middle class like me, has your life changed significantly since Obama has been in office? Yes. My freedoms are being limited. Now I’ve got your attention.”
About two dozen people turned out to hear Grayson at the Rib Ranch on Canton Road in Marietta.
Madison Forum president Michael Opitz of east Cobb, president of the civic organization, said he liked what Grayson had to say.
“It was a pleasure hearing those kinds of words from not just a black man but someone who is running for a significant political office, and I think the words that he spoke rang true to a lot of people in that room,” Opitz said.
“Those are the kinds of things that we want to hear from the black community, and today we heard those, so we know that there is hope.”