What a year it is has been. All of humanity’s selfish ways are coming home to roost. We treat nature and the Earth as disposable, but they are not. Too many of us are only concerned with power and money and will sacrifice anyone and anything to get it. And so here we are, the Earth as we know it is dying all around us. Fires, hurricanes, implacable heat, the death of biodiversity, pandemics and protests. I am inundated with too much pain, fear and suffering to manifest anything positive.

I’ve spent too much time on Facebook since quarantine started. Even before Covid I had gone to great lengths to avoid a lot of the negativity and divisive commentary. I installed an app to filter out political posts, I quit groups that didn’t moderate political, misogynistc and racist content with a heavy hand. I unfollowed family members and blocked strangers so that I could enjoy the few oases of hope, calm and understanding, or at least the relative peace of groups where the noise to knowledge ratio trended toward the worthwhile.

Recently, things have been much worse. The insults, the rhetoric, the hyperbole, the ANGER of some people at anyone who dares to hold a progressive viewpoint is not just unpleasant but downright threatening.

And it’s more than a little painful, to see your parents sharing insulting and hateful, anti-liberal slurs, but in oh so cutesy meme form (aren’t we funny, yuk-yuk) for you to find when you’re drinking your first cup of coffee all hopeful and renewed of a morning.

I’m exhausted by the endless manufactured drama. And it is manufactured. Nobody can keep their mouth shut and mind their own business on the internet. Nobody can let anyone else’s opinion stand without challenge, even if the opinion in question has absolutely no effect or bearing on anyone else’s life save the person who posted it to begin with.

Do I really need to see another diatribe about how being vegan is apparently the stupidest thing ever? No. And I actually agree that veganism is highly problematic. It’s a privileged practice, and it certainly isn’t eco-friendly or animal-friendly unless you’re actually growing all that food yourself, because the business of large scale agriculture is not animal or eco-friendly by a long shot.

The difference between me and the vitriol spewing vegan-hater on Facebook is I don’t feel its my place to point it out in a gardening forum. In fact, I think, while its misguided, the desire to be vegan is honorable and comes from a place of genuine caring. However, my respect ends when the vegan in question starts calling meat-eaters murderers and unethical. I’m done with the fanatics on both sides. I’m done with people picking at, bullying and baiting each other until someone snaps, and then posting only the end of the exchange in another group to “prove” how awful and stupid the other side is.

The constant exposure to this kind of behavior has created within me a tilt in the wrong direction. I get so angry at the haters that I become one myself. I hate that they ruin everything, I hate that they’re incapable of empathy, I hate that they’re so selfish and narrow-minded, and I hate myself for allowing them to push my buttons and inspire in me the thing that I judge in them. Hate.

Maybe it isn’t as worthwhile as I imagined. Maybe being in a group that brings out the worst in me is counter-productive even if it feels useful on the surface. Maybe I need to break up with Facebook…

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