Couples Counseling for a Hill-Man and a Berner Babe
by Kevin Kelton
Romantic couples sometimes need the help of an objective outsider to break bad interpersonal habits and patch up hard feelings, and Facebook friends are no different. As a Facebook group moderator and Psych minor (and former dorm R.A.), I’m often called on to mediate conflicts among couples who are struggling politically. Here is one Private Message counseling session I had recently with a Bernie Smathers supporter and a Hillary Clayton voter. (NOTE: Names have been changed for privacy.)
Moderator: Good morning. You two seem unusually distant today. What gives?
Kathy: Him! Or more accurately, he doesn’t give. He is the least giving person I know. Ever since his Queen Hillary was crowned the nominee by the corporate media, he’s been gloating all over our news feeds.
Rick: I’m not gloating. I’m celebrating. My candidate won, and I’m happy. Why can’t you just accept that and be happy for me?
Kathy: She didn’t “win” yet. The delegates don’t vote until July.
Rick: Well, the people voted. And your socialist messiah lost by almost four million votes.
Kathy: That number doesn’t include the caucuses he won! And it’s Democratic-Socialist. (to Moderator) Do you see what I’m dealing with here? He’s impossible!
Moderator: What I see is two people who used to be great Facebook friends. Used to like each others’ updates, shared each other’s cat memes, and saw eye-to-eye on most social issues. Think of the good times… ending the Bush tax cuts… Black Lives Matter…
Kathy: That was before he became a corporate shill.
Rick: Corporate shill? I’m a high school math teacher.
Kathy: At a private school. (to Moderator) Chocked full of one percenter kids.
Moderator: Okay okay, you two. Let’s get back to the real issues here. Kathy, Rick is trying to communicate his genuine feelings about Hillary Clayton to you. Can you hear what he’s saying?
Kathy: Well, no… we only see each other on Facebook. But I can read what he says.
Moderator: Fair enough, I stand corrected. You see that, Kath? You said something, and I listened. Then I acknowledged that you had a valid point. Can you do that with Rick about his excitement over the first woman nominee of a major party?
Kathy (types grudgingly): I suppose.
Moderator: And Rick, can you acknowledge that Kathy is justifiably hurt that her candidate, Bernie Smathers, is so far behind in delegates.
Rick: He’s not “behind.” He lost!
Rick: Okay, fine. (to Kathy) I’m sorry that Bernie lost… (correcting himself) That Bernie is “behind.” He had some good ideas. Not really achievable with a GOP House, but—
Kathy: You see?! He won’t let up!
Moderator: I have to say, Rick, Kathy has a point. You are being… may a speak frankly?
Rick: Yeah, whatever.
Moderator: Thank you. You are being kind of a dick.
Kathy: Thank you!
Moderator: You’re welcome.
Rick: Why am I the dick? Bernie lost. But he won’t accept it, and neither will she. All she keeps talking about is Jill Stein and how “the revolution lives on.”
Moderator: Well, maybe Bernie’s revolution is important to Kathy. Did you consider that?
Rick: What revolution? A bunch of entitled millennials who think the answer to all the world’s problems is free college and breaking up banks?
Moderator: I don’t think Kathy is saying that’s the answer to all the world’s problems. I think she’s saying it’s a start. I don’t mean to speak for you, Kathy. Is that how you feel?
Rick: There it is. That’s the real issue, isn’t it? You’re just jealous of all her superdelegates.
Kathy: Oh please! Like I’d ever be jealous of your political whore lobbyists.
Moderator: Hey, hey, you two — what are you doing here? You have so much in common? Debt-free college…. universal healthcare… a living minimum wage…
Kathy: If you call $12 an hour “living”…
Rick: I’ve told you a thousand times, she supports $15 in larger cities. (to Moderator) You see how she twists things? And all I hear, day in, day out, is “Iraq vote Iraq vote Iraq vote.”
Moderator: Don’t tell me. Say what you’re feeling directly to Kathy.
Rick: Fine. (turns his keyboard to face in Kathy’s direction) Kathy, I wish you would stop blaming Hillary for the Iraq War.
Kathy: Well, she voted for it.
Rick: So did 28 other Democratic senators, including John Kerry and Joe Biden. But you voted for both of them.
Moderator: Is that true, Kathy?
Kathy: Well… I only voted for Biden as vice president.
Rick: Oh please! Before Bernie got into the race, you were praying Joe would run. So you clearly weren’t holding that vote against him.
Kathy: Okay, fine! Maybe she isn’t solely responsible for that war.
Rick: She’s not solely responsible for any wars.
Moderator: That’s true, Kathy. She’s not.
Kathy (weakly): Even the Honduran coup?
Moderator (sternly): Kathy…
Kathy: Fine, fine, fine! Maybe she’s not the neocon hawk I paint her to be. But Rick has to stop talking about Bernie’s tax returns…and his Vatican flight menu. And my god! Stop with the socialist red-baiting. He’s running for the Democratic party nomination.
Rick: Okay, you’re right. Look, tell you what: I’ll admit that Bernie is a Democrat if you’ll start acting like a Democrat and stop trying to blackmail me into supporting him.
Rick: Yes, blackmail. Every time you talk all that “Bernie or Bust” nonsense. It’s a form of blackmail — saying, if we don’t do what you want and make him the nominee, you and everyone you know will vote Green and ensure that Hillary loses the general.
Moderator: Did you really say that, Kathy?
Kathy: I… I might have… once or twice.
Rick: More like every day.
Moderator: Kathy, we don’t use friends and third parties as a wedge in a relationship.
Kathy: It’s not a relationship. We’re just Facebook friends.
Rick: “Just.” That really hurts. And after I “hearted” all your profile pics.
Kathy: I’m sorry. Okay, fine. I’ll think about voting for her.
Rick: Thank you. That means a lot to me
Kathy: I’ll think about it. No promises.
Rick: And I’ll think about posting that Bernie should be on her vp short list.
Kathy (brightens): Really?! You’d do that for me?
Rick: For us.
Kathy: That is so sweet! No wonder I “like” you so much.
Moderator: Well, I’m touched that you both shared that with me. But unfortunately, our thread is running long. See you next week?
Kathy: Next week?
Rick: The D.C. primary. Remember?
Kathy: Oh god, will this never end?