You, Me, and Kamala Harris’ Coconut Tree

America has fallen out of the coconut tree and into a pile of Kamala Harris memes.

As pressure builds for Joe Biden to pull out of the presidential race following an abysmal performance at last Thursday’s debate, the vice president has emerged as the most likely successor to the nomination if a last-minute ticket shake-up were to take place.

As voters look toward Harris as the potential break-glass-in-case-of-emergency Democratic nominee, the media is bombarding them with polling, anonymous quotes from lawmakers, spin from the White House and the president’s campaign, and rampant speculation about what Biden may decide to do. It’s overwhelming. In a time where everything feels like it’s falling apart, social media has taken a different route: latching onto a sound bite that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the moment and meme-ing the shit out of it.

“You think you just fell out of a coconut tree?” said Harris at a White House event in 2023. “You exist in the context of all in which you live and what came before you.”

The past eight years have felt like a long fall from the coconut tree. The context in which we live is terrifying and ever-present, and we are all acutely aware of what came before and what may come next — and none of it is reassuring.

Instead of crawling back into the coconut tree from whence we came, many are embracing Harris’ coconut-tree philosophizing and other bizarro Kamala-isms, using a barrage of jokes, edits, musical crossovers, and increasingly self-referential memes as a chaser for the dose of reality that if Biden is out, Kamala Harris is probably in.

Other clips of the vice president’s mystifying public statements have gone similarly viral as social media users deem themselves “coconut-pilled” in support of a Harris run for the presidency.

Users seized on a common refrain in the vice president’s speeches: “I can imagine what will be, unburdened by what has been.” It means something, but also nothing.

“How are you supposed to exist in the context of all in which you live and what came before you AND be, unburdened by what has been at the same time? Waiting for her 3rd great revelation that synthesizes these two,” one user wrote on X.

Another clip making the rounds on Wednesday was a 2022 video of Harris giddily singing “The Wheels on the Bus” to an incorrect tune as she boarded her campaign bus.

Everything sucks. The president is an old man whose ability to handle the pressures of the job is in serious doubt. His opponent is another old man who is also a convicted felon harboring authoritarian fantasies. The Supreme Court has been captured by right-wing ideologues. Congress is an unending shitstorm of ineffective political theatrics, and voters feel powerless to stop it.

We all fell out of the coconut tree, we are all burdened by what has been, and we exist in the context of all in which we live, at least — for a brief moment in time — we can all have a good laugh about it.

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