Saturday, January 31, 2009

I had to laugh

I've been reading Rene Steele's little forum recently from time to time because someone told me my name came up on it. I used to visit the forum, even post there before I completely understood what a homogeneous group of narrow-minded rightwing reactionaries frequent the forum. But the board's biggest problem then still haunts it: the near complete anonymity allows people to say anything with relative impunity. For the most part, I posted using my real name there. And my experience on that forum helped me formulate a policy of avoiding anonymity.

If I have something to say online, I'll gladly attach my name to it.

About this time last night Rene started a thread that included my first name in its title. She talked mostly about the vacancy on the Board of Supervisors. An anonymous poster going by the handle "Bounty Hunter" responded today, and I wondered if his (her) words were meant as a threat:
In entering the political arena, everything Greg C. has communicated on any forum will become visible for inspection and interpretation. That is part of being a political candidate...
I had to laugh.

Is there stuff out there with my name attached to it that people might take issue with? Well, sure there is. My guess is that Rene herself has a folder somewhere of printouts of things I said on her forum - things about taxes or religion or gay marriage or global warming or abortion or - well, who can remember. And who cares. Taken in isolation they can be twisted. The quotes would be years old; I might have changed my mind and some of those issues...

If you're looking for damning words from me, there are plenty of words out there. A Google search of my name in quotes brings up over 19 thousand pages. I've blogged for the NY Times Company, participated in political forums, written for Suite101 and Creative Weblogging, and scatter my thought to the four winds in cyberspace. I think it's pretty clear who I am...

I'm a Yellow Dog.

I take a position on abortion that makes prolifer’s say I'm a baby killer and pro-choice people question my loyalty to the Democratic Party. I'd like to see a whole lot less abortion, but I'm not convinced that the Bible speaks as clear to the concept as the Religious Right would have us think.

My solution to gay marriage is simple. Let the government get out of the marriage business altogether. My wife and I were married in a church, by a preacher. I bought a license because Romans 13:1 says to obey the government. The government sells the licenses because they think they need the money. I'm a Baptist; what do you think that I think about homosexual activity? I'm also a card-carrying member of the ACLU. What do you think I think about the rights of individuals whose sexual orientation happens to puzzle me?

What issue do you want to talk about? I'm sure I can tick you off over it. I said I was a Baptist and I've set the alarm to get me up for church in the morning. I believe many Baptist things - the inspiration of scripture, the great commission, separation of church and state, eternal security, the sinfulness of mankind. Those kind of things.

But I set her writing with a glass of Merlot in my hand. Baptists make an unconvincing argument on that issue.

Anyway, I don't remember the last time I was afraid of having someone quote back to me something I'd once said. I'm entitled to change my mind (doing so is actually a sign of intelligence). I'm not adverse to apologizing if I was insensitive. And I'm quite happy to defend what I same most of the time.

Bounty Hunter's assumption that I had "entered the political arena" was wrong. I might one day. If he shows up when I do, we'll see whether people think he's stupid, or I'm stupid. Place your bets...


Rene' said...

Your name came up on my little forum only after my name came up on your little blog, and I only used your first name.

Greg_Cruey said...

My name came up three times in two days on your board on January 8th and 9th here. The first of those three mentions was by you. Your name came up on my board on January 16th - eight days later.

I wasn't suggesting that you were responsible for Bounty Hunter's comment.

Seems like the format of your forum's changed since I posted there some years ago. Maybe the site itself has changed. I can't actually figure how to go back and look at things I said then, no matter how I toy around in Google (or at your site). I'm guessing they're gone. So, DO YOU have them printed out in a folder somewhere...?

Actually, you used "Greg C." in the text of your posts to refer to someone who has a blog and is involved in Northern District politics. I think that narrows it down a lot. But I don't mind.

You've published your last name on your own forum and asserted ownership of the forum at least twice that I can find. So I'm not sure how saying that the forum belongs to you reveals any great secrets or violates anyone's privacy...