Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Rick Scott Facebook Page Experiment

I’ve spent about two weeks now at Rick Scott’s Facebook page doing word wars with the Scott supporters, and as I close out the experiment, I can say this: I have not seen so many thoughtless, angry, and ignorant people gathered in one place in a long time.

I mentioned last time about the false quote of Thomas Jefferson. In response to my pointing that out, one of Scott’s supporters said:

"Pretty sure you missed the point Indie. I happen to believe it to be a true statement and from the likes, so do many others and I don't think there has been a American Gov in my lifetime of 50 years where the people distrust the gov. as much as they do today. When the Gov excludes itself from the law, there is no law."

At last check that statement had gotten 19 likes.  What does that say? It says that to them, the facts don’t matter, as long as you “get the point.” As I said in reply to that Scott supporter:

"Whether it's true or not isn't the point. Scott posted this quote to celebrate Jefferson's birthday, not to celebrate the sentiments of the quote. The least he can do to honor the man properly is use a quote that's genuine. If he wants to celebrate the sentiment, he can do that anytime, and attribute it to the person who did say it (Barnhill). As it is, it reflects the thoughtlessness and carelessness with facts that so characterizes Scott and his regime. You speak of a government that excludes itself from the law -- it's not much better to have one that excludes itself from being responsible and accurate with facts. But maybe that's why Scott supporters don't blink when Scott affirms that the '300,000 people lost insurance' ad is correct in spite of the obvious fact that it is a lie."

It’s also a place where they really don’t want to hear contrary views. This comment is typical:

"What's with all the negative talk,if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all. I am voting to keep our Governor IN!"

Don’t disturb us, they say – we’re comfortable. The same person spoke up when I asked Scott supporters to defend Scott’s boneheaded plan (the words of Golf Week magazine there, not me) to put golf courses in state parks. They said:

"I am defending it Indie Thinker,there are people who like to play golf on vacation"

To which I said:

"So why can't they play it now? FL already has more golf courses than any other state. Why ruin state parks? And do you also defend the no bid contract for Nickalus?"

They didn’t answer, so I added this later:

"While you think that over, here's something else. (Don't forget to address the Golf Week criticisms of the plan, including that is it 'boneheaded'.) Your sole reason given to defend this plan is that "there are people who like to play golf on their vacation." Okay. According to stats, 5.1 million people a year come to Florida to play golf.Some just for golf, some as a sideline. But stats also show that FL state parks get visited by 25 million people a year. So by your own logic, instead of ripping up state parks to make more golf courses, we should be ripping up golf courses to make more state parks. Maybe you want to think a little harder about that one?"

Ignorance abounds there in other ways. More than one person criticized Charlie Crist for hopping between three political parties. It was news to them to be told that “Independent” is not a party.

But maybe the most fun I had was with a character named Rich. This guy set a great example for you grammarphobes; he spoke of “fee’s” increased under Crist’s governorship, and got so upset at me that he accused me of being on “Charlies” payroll.  It’s amazing how he can try so many times to use an apostrophe correctly, and get it wrong so many times.

Anyway,  it was with Rich that I had the most incredible talk, about the auto fees raised by Crist, which Scott just reversed as an election year stunt. I’d like to reprint the talk, but for some reason, it was erased. So I’ll paraphrase it by memory:

Indie: So why didn’t Scott reduce the fees in 2011, 2012, or 2013?

Rich: Why did Crist raise them???

Indie: You’re not answering my question. But to answer yours, he and the Legislature – mostly the same people now under Scott, by the way -- raised the fees because the recession caused a budget shortfall. Now tell me, why didn’t Scott reverse those in 2011-2013?

Rich:  Those Democrats in the Legislature probably stopped it!

Indie: No, Rich. The Republicans had a majority and could have done what they wanted. In fact, from 2011-2012 they had a supermajority, and were unstoppable. Now do you have any statements by Democrats who spoke out against lowering the fees?

Rich: Well, all I know is, Crist raised them, and Scott lowered them, that’s good enough for me! That raise in fees hurt poor people and single moms!

Indie: So what you’re telling me is that Scott and the Republican Legislature decided to keep screwing poor people and single moms for three years by charging a fee increase that we didn’t actually need when Crist signed it into law? Then again I ask, why didn’t Scott reverse it sooner?

Rich: Ask him yourself! I can’t read his mind!

It’s sad to say that this exchange was probably the most substantial one I had with any Scott supporter on his Facebook page.  I would provide links to news items explaining things, only to have them ignored. I asked the question about fees multiple times (including just today) and was ignored by virtually everyone but Rich.

It seems my work there is done for now. And if Scott gets another 4 years, our state will be done for good. It means that people like Rich will be the majority of citizens here who decide what things should be like -- and that's a scary thought.

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