Monday, July 07, 2008

Integrity. I Haz It.

One of the traits I admire least about myself is wishy-washiness. I have plenty of strong opinions, but am often not willing to really stand behind them.

The local online group I frequent has one member named "Elizabeth." People either love her or hate her. She has been castigated, reviled, and compared to the Shelly Long character on "Cheers" - kind of snooty and pompous in some of the opinions she expresses. There's also a rather sharp division among this group between the liberals and the conservatives, and she has lined up time and again with the conservatives, all the while disclaiming any particular ideology. Some of her remarks have cut too close to the bone for forgiveness in the case of several other members. Elizabeth apparently sensed this because she went and created her own forum. One of the first people she contacted and invited to join was me, and this made me feel really strange because as far as I knew, I hadn't extended the hand of friendship to her. I remained noncommittal ("Gee, I'm so busy, I can't imagine when I might find time," etc.), but she was rather persistent, so I went and checked out the site, registered with a username and posted a few comments. A few others from the original forum have been active there. With all of this, Elizabeth has also maintained a presence on the original site. A few weeks ago I went head-to-head with one of the more reactionary personalities on there, who answered a straightforward question with sarcasm. Elizabeth spoke up in her insistent fashion and I thanked her publicly for defending me.

But recently, I shared lunch with two of the members that Elizabeth provoked the most hostility in. I admitted that I'd participated in her site, and realized I felt guilty, ashamed and uncomfortable about this because I genuinely care about the two people I was sitting there with, and overall had little or no regard for Elizabeth. So what was it that compelled me to accept her invitation in the first place? Basic wimpiness is the answer I come up with. I guess I like forums. Hers isn't terribly different from the one she spun off and there's really, truly no reason for me to be there.

Fortunately, a major news story broke a few days ago and when I read her take on it, it reaffirmed most emphatically how WRONG it would be for me to continue having any association with her whatsoever. Talk about wanting to take a shower -- hoo-wee, especially after my weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, getting back in touch with my liberal self. I did, in fact, take a shower, because I read her post first thing in the morning over coffee. I curtailed my usual perusal of news sites for the sole purpose of going onto my profile page and deleting my membership. No comments or anything; I just got out once and for all.

And then reached for the soap.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

Good for you!!!!! I'm in the process (as I type) of extricating myself from a relationship I've clung to far too long. Enough is more than enough!!!!