So there’s these two tomatoes, and they’re walking down the street but one tomato keeps falling behind. The other tomato is getting more and more pissed off until finally it turns around and just squashes the slow tomato. “Catch up!” it yells.
Catch up? Ketchup?
They say you should lead with a joke when you’re about to say something unpalatable. They also say what I’m about to tell you is unpalatable. Catch up.
For the past three months I’ve been reading social media posts that could–and should–have been written in 2016. “This is about the Supreme Court!” Really? Because a 6-3 majority is gonna change in the next four years? That was 2016. “This is about [insert group here] rights!” No but seriously those rights have been rolled back decades already. Where were you in 2016? Why weren’t you in the streets as that was happening in the years between then and now?
I don’t know how to put this nicely. Catch up. It’s 2020 and 300,000 people will have died by year-end and you’re still wondering if it’s ok to wear blackface on Halloween, or why protesters break windows. Catch up. It’s been four years since you strapped on your pink hat and safety pin and swore to Do Something. Have you done it? Or was your Something waiting for the blue wave that didn’t materialize in 2018 and didn’t materialize in 2020 because it’s not there. There aren’t any grownups coming. We’re the grownups now.
Catch up. It’s 2020 and people are still shocked that Trump controls around 50% of the vote. It’s the same 50% that he controlled in 2016 – so how are you shocked? It’s literally the same people, and you have been watching them in the media for four years.
Catch up: racism isn’t dying out, or the province of old white men. Look at the average age of the Proud Boys and neonazis in rallies. Look at the MAGA hat kid, look at Charlottesville, and get through your head that this isn’t going anywhere, it’s raising another generation, and you are outnumbered.
Catch up: do you even know what the graffiti in your neighborhood means?
Catch up: did you just say ‘where are the cops why don’t they stop this’ while watching something bad happen to a POC? To a protester? To anyone? In 2020 after more than 160 days of continuous protests about police violence?
Catch up: do you understand that oppressive systems can function without active malice?
Catch up: do you understand that “have to” is conditional? That they don’t “have to” leave or “have to” stop just because there’s a rule? That “can’t” and “aren’t supposed to” are different? That the power of rules is contingent on agreement to be bound and, in the extreme, upon the presence of an enforcement power? Do you understand that the enforcement power is not on your side, just because it has protected you in the past?
Catch up. Or we’re all gonna get squashed.