I keep seeing people on the left saying “we can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
By this, they mean that we can tackle:
- Climate change
- Income and wealth inequality
- Racism and sexism and individual rights
- Economic problems and the end of work
…and do it all at the same time. In short, the “walk and chew gum” trope is a self-important claim that comes up whenever there is debate about what to prioritize, in order to subvert and avoid the need to prioritize (or to have conversations about prioritizing) all together.
“I don’t think we should put one or the other first,” goes the inevitable bromide, “we are perfectly capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.”
Here’s the thing.
To date I have seen zero evidence of this.
Show me the money. Show me some success at this. Because from where I sit right now, all of these things are dumpster fires, and the Democratic party is out of power across the board, locally, at the state level, and at the federal level, in virtually every facet of government.
You may think that you are walking and chewing gum, or that you are capable of walking and chewing gum, America, but you frankly suck at it. As in suck.
Pro tip: Wishing something does not make it so. It is not a law of the universe or an a priori ontological fact that you can walk and chew gum at the same time. What if, surprise of surprises, you actually can’t, and that’s why you aren’t despite trying all this time?
Are you prepared to have a discussion about priorities then?
Because mother nature right now is doing a pretty good job of showing you the real stuff, as opposed to your ideological feel-goodism.
Let me say again, for the record, because in America right now this is not something that people are conceptualizing well:
Wishing something does not make it so.
Believing something does not make it true.
No matter how pure your heart.
And fuck Walt Disney for creating a generation of “adults” who actually believe this to be the case, and who are willing to fight to the death, fingers in ears, screaming “LALALALALA I CANT HEAR YOU” all the while, to avoid having to face the simple fact that the kindest, most fervent wishes of your deep, tender heart to not—ever—a material world control.
I know, so unfair.
But yeah, why don’t we keep on “walking and chewing gum” while the whole world sinks underwater. With their last breaths, some will still be working hard to “believe,” so as to make everything okay again.