Just Wright Citrus must be hitting the big time because I just tossed my first fake person.
Allow me to explain.
As you know, I try to steer the conversation here to a more cordial theme, unlike what we’ve all been used to the last few years. We encourage debate, discussion, and an exchange of ideas. We have many, many issues facing Citrus County and we’re not going to get anywhere by barking at each other.
Or playing gotcha.
Some people are apparently threatened by insightful debate. They’d rather toss up sludge and insult to see what sticks.
My new ex-friend, “Frank Buck,” is a classic example.
I am constantly monitoring the chatter on this site. First off, I enjoy the conversation. Whether a little or a lot, I’m appreciative of the participation. And It helps me plan future blogs, knowing how folks react to certain subjects.
But I’m also watching for zingers. Cheap shots at politicians or community leaders (or other commenters), going off topic to air a personal beef, stretching any local issue into Trump/Biden/DeSantis, linking to special-interest websites. Or just plain making up stuff.
You don’t see much of that here because I’m pretty consistent with it. And I know it’s not popular with people who really want to spout off about something but end up crossing a line.
That’s why whenever I hide a comment, I’ll message the person to tell him/her why. Most understand, some don’t. One person called me a “communist sellout” because I wouldn't post her comment. I didn’t ban her from the site, though.
So when “Frank Buck” posted some crazy anti-Ralph Massullo rant Monday afternoon, I hid the comment but then found I could not message him. I searched for “Frank Buck” on Facebook but it went nowhere.
I’m still naïve in the ways of blogging, so I thought maybe “Frank Buck” was new to the concept of friendly dialogue and would come around.
Then around 12:40 a.m. Tuesday came four Just Wright Citrus Facebook notification tones on my phone, one right after another. I checked and, sure enough, “Frank Buck” was scattering insults throughout a number of posts. I immediately hid the comments and blocked him.
(Frank, if that really IS your name and you’re just a meanie, I apologize for calling you fake.)
Considering the content, I’m going to guess friends of “Frank Buck” are among the same sort I’ve written about in the past, the Gotcha Gang whose entire existence is to make others unhappy.
“Gotcha” is always popular with some people but it becomes an Olympic sport during campaign season. That’s when the dregs seep out, at first in whispers and gossip. Then, failing to get any traction, the Gotcha Gang will jump right into accusations, sending out harsh-sounding emails to anyone who will listen.
Some of it may carry a ring of truth, though presented in a distorted view. I’ve done this a long time and I can say with certainty that most of that stuff is garbage. How to tell if it’s on the up-and-up? The information is well researched and someone with a decent reputation is telling you about it. That’s how.
Now. Politicians who do stupid things deserve to get called out for it. Give that an open mind, though. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as you might think. Most of the people who have represented Citrus County in local, state or federal office over the last 35 years are decent humans.
So let’s do our best to stick to issues here, OK? We have plenty of deep discussions that need to take place as our community transitions through this significant growth stage. Campaign season is the perfect time to have those important chats.
Go play gotcha somewhere else.
Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.