Bernie’s Bullies, Hillary’s Harassers: An Empath Tries To Survive Facebook During the Democratic Primaries


There. I said it. It needed to be said. You are hurting me with each post. Every “funny” meme you shared feels like an interestingly treaded boot on my chest. Every poll from an organization I’ve never heard of that you’ve clicked LIKE on is a knitting needle slowly inserted into the empty space of my eye socket. Every think piece from showing why whoever has no chance or every chance feels like watching this week’s Super Bowl Halftime Show again… without Beyoncé, or Bruno Mars, or even Coldplay’s hot drummer. Everything you post is pure torture.

Yes, I am a delicate little flower.

Deanna_loses_her_empathic_abilitiesMore correctly, I am an empath. Now you may only be familiar with empaths from the character of Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. You remember her –the woman with the curly hair that sat next to Captain Picard on the bridge and said things like “I sense deception” whenever the plot called for it. Most of the times being an empath came in handy. However, once a season, whenever the actress’ contract called for her to be the focus of a story, Troi would clutch her head in pain and slump against the bulkhead because the vibes or whatever were just too much to bear.

It seems every time I log on to Facebook lately, I end up slumped against a bulkhead, and I’m sick of it.

By calling myself an empath, I’m not implying I can read minds. Instead, I’m saying I have an enhanced ability to suss out emotions. It’s part of the package with being Bipolar II. I spend so much of my time tuned into my own emotions that I’ve become highly attuned to other people’s emotions. For example, I can always tell when a couple’s been fighting even if the row was over hours ago. I just pick up on subtle cues in body language and speech. Then, of course, I take on all that emotional baggage as my own. Their discomfort, which they may not even be cognizant of anymore, becomes my discomfort.

Bernie supports and Hillary supporters are the battling couple in this case. And I’m stuck out at an uncomfortable meal with them at Chez Facebook staring intently down at my menu hoping they shut up long enough for us to order.

It seems that every time I log on to Facebook, I see some partisan meme or blog post or poll. Very rarely are these from a credible source. Most of the time the headlines are pure clickbait like “You Won’t Believe What Happened When Bernie Touched My Scrunchie!” or “Seven Times Hillary Saved Us From Certain Death By Cutting The Blue Wire.” Some people post these things four or five times a day. And even people who say they don’t post things contribute to the cacophony by liking or commenting on the jetsam. Because that makes it then show up in my feed. And then in my brain, my delicate brain.

Clickbait wouldn’t be so bad if that’s all it was, but it’s gotten so mean. So. Fucking. Mean. That’s the emotion I’m picking up on. Now we’re going after Gloria Steinam, Madeline Albright, and Susan Sarandon. Thelma! (Or Louise. Whichever one drives the car over the cliff.) All these women did is speak their mind, and now people are dragging them thru the mud. And thru the transitive power of mental illness, I feel like I’m being bullied.

Remember: delicate flower. But I know flowers made of studier stuff are wilting under this onslaught. I’ve talked with them. I’ve seen there pleas on Facebook for you to stop.

I would love to name names here and shame these Facebook acquaintances of mine who peddle this shit. I picture them huddled over their keyboards cackling as they engage in the great creative endeavor of our time, meme-sharing. Yes, I understand that both Bernie and Karl Marx have unruly hair, but if that’s the crux of your argument, you suck. You better post a pic of a kitten covered in pasta NOW to scrub that image off my retina-brain. And you Bernie people aren’t off the hook, either. Good luck at a few coin flips, utterly independent events, does not constitute voter fraud, no matter how exciting of a font you write “fraud” in over the most “evil” picture of Hillary. Stop it.

And here’s where I’m a little paranoid. I have to assume that these memes and such are aimed at me with the intent of influencing my vote. The alternative is that the posters are just masturbating, sticking stuff up there for their own onanistic pleasures. In that case: Ewww. Please go elsewhere on the internet to get that. So, now that we’ve taken that this posting is to influence my vote… WHAT KIND OF IDIOT DO YOU TAKE ME FOR? Do you really think my brain is of such a thin gruel that your one shared post can possibly influence its flavor? How about maybe I’ve been familiar with both of these candidates pretty much my entire adult life? I’m making up my mind based on that, not on which direction you imagine the candidates hang the toilet paper. Yes, that was a real meme. That’s the level of discourse I’m forced to wade through each time I go on to Facebook.

I didn’t start on Facebook until 2009. Therefore, this is my first contested Democratic primary on social media. Was it this bad in 2008? Did meme technology even exist then? The level of discourse just plain disgusts me. It’s turning me off the entire political process. I’m ready to say, “Fuck it! Let Trump have the whole lot of you!” Because if all you have to offer are specious memes and push polls and drive-by splatterings of feminist icons, you deserve a President Trump.

Now pardon me while I curl my delicate empathic brain up in a little ball just so I can go look at some important, important kitten pics.

Please stop.


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