A deep look at the face of hatred
So it’s come to this.
A national hate group is bragging how it pushed around the locals in backwater Citrus County, Florida.
You have to wonder, at what point does a community stand up and say “Enough!”
That time is now.
We’ve all joked about Library Guy and his minions who want to remove anti-gay displays from the library (of which there are now, in total, NONE). And how the county commission, plus a council member from each city, will meet as the library governing board on Tuesday to select five people from 39 applicants for the library advisory board.
It was never funny to the dozens of library workers, volunteers and, especially, Director Eric Head, who have been the brunt of scathing criticism, all unwarranted, by people who think their do-do doesn’t stink.
It’s not funny to Citrus County citizens who watch board Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. encourage this demeaning behavior. Meanwhile, a majority of county commissioners, who could do something if they joined together, allow this madness to continue.
And now here we are.
An outfit called MassResistance, based out of Virginia, posted on its website Tuesday the tall tale of using its influence to stop the library display.
“Florida MassResistance helps derail ‘Pride Month’ in Citrus County library system,” the lead headline reads. “Fighting political corruption, leftist officials and angry LGBT activists along the way.”
Library Guy, who it refers to as a “great local activist,” began this crusade and asked for MassResistance’s help. And we all know how well that’s gone so far.
I didn’t catch this at first. It was loyal Just Wright Citrus readers who researched Mass Resistance for me. And on Wednesday, reader Kathy Gates posted a link with her comment to the daily blog.
For months we’ve been hearing that Library Guy and a band of out-of-towners were riling up the Citrus County faithful for this bizarro campaign. And for months they’ve denied it. Now we have proof based on their own bragging.
I’m not going to quote the whole thing, but I encourage you to read it. (From a factual standpoint, about 2% of it actually happened.) Get a good peek at what the Library Guy Gang thinks of our community. They’re playing us for fools.
This has gone on long enough. It’s time for the leaders of this community to stand up to hatred.
When Tuesday’s meeting rolls around, I’d like to see the commission chambers packed with folks in our community whose opinions matter. They’ve walked the talk. If you’re reading this and wondering if I’m talking about you, I probably am. Show up Tuesday and speak for community decency.
I suggested in Wednesday’s blog that it wouldn’t hurt the county to not bring back all five library advisory board members who want reappointment, since there are so many other qualified applicants.
After seeing this trash, though, forget that idea. Bring ‘em all back. None of the five deserve anything but reappointment and the public’s thanks for putting up with such mean-spirited individuals.
Commissioners — talking to you Holly Davis, Ruthie Davis Schlabach and Jeff Kinnard — CANNOT give in to this bullying. Let Kitchen rant all he wants, he’s just one vote. The three of you have the upper hand and there is no better time than Tuesday to take advantage of it.
In 2019, Kitchen pitched a fit when the national media got ahold of the New York Times story and commissioners started getting nasty email from across the country. He blamed me and the Chronicle for creating the fiasco.
Guess what? Now hate groups are using Citrus County as their home base. They see us as weak and commissioners easily hoodwinked.
We’ve got a million challenges and this is taking up a lot of air. That said, nothing is more important than ensuring Tuesday that hate does not get a foothold into our community. There should be no “compromise” discussion or anything like that.
This is a no-brainer commissioners. It’s time to pick a side. For our sakes, please choose wisely.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.