Suck It Up, Buttercup
I’m sorry I haven’t written in a minute—I’ve been all up in my feelings for the last 2 weeks or so. My president is leaving and the whole idea got me like:
My wife has been trying to get me to watch these retrospectives of the last 8 years, the overviews of the Obama presidency and I can’t bring myself to do it. I cain’t. Fuck that, Brian Williams, I ain’t watching your show. Nope, History Channel, miss me with that replay of the 2008 inauguration. Sorry BET, just…no.
I’m at the house, scrolling pass anything that shows Obama walking anywhere—to Air Force One, the Oval Office, the bathroom—like Monique in Precious.
I’m having a hard time with Obama leaving.
One thing I always see when I troll any site or article that talks negatively about the bullshit Trump is doing—like denying Russian involvement in the election or tweeting incoherent nonsense about Saturday Night Live or nominating a woman thinks guns are necessary in schools cause grizzly bears—is Suck It Up, Buttercup.
Suck it up, buttercup.
It’s cute, it’s snarky, it’s condescending. It’s all the things I should enjoy, right? The right mix of tough attitude and sarcasm, a quick little hit to make anybody voicing any kind of dissension shut up and just take it.
But here’s the thing: they’re right.
20 years ago, I chaperoned a group of 4th, 5th and 6th graders on a Civil Rights tours from the Twin Cities to the deep South. I might have talked about this before. We went to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas and met one of the Little Rock Nine. We went to Biloxi and Atlanta and Birmingham and Memphis.
Next to Birmingham, Selma was the place that struck me the most. In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr led a march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery. What started as a peaceful march over the Edmund Pettus bridge turned into a violent confrontation between state troopers, horses and dogs. Tear gas and billy clubs. This was Bloody Sunday, a clash of armed police against 600 unarmed, peaceful protestors who simply wanted to exercise their right to vote. 58 people were injured, dozens more arrested. I met two sisters while we were in Selma, both of them were in Bloody Sunday event—you can even see them getting beat by troopers in the Eyes on the Prize videos. One of them still had the knot on her head from the billy club; the other was still missing the teeth the police had knocked out 30 years earlier. She called their loss her “badge of honor.”
Oh, you know who else was there, at Bloody Sunday? John Lewis. Take a look:
That’s John Lewis right there, the foreground, getting a skull fracture from the police for peacefully marching for his constitutional rights. That’s Congressman John Lewis. Congressman John Lewis who President-Elect Trump said was “All talk talk talk…no action.” That John Lewis.
You know what John Lewis did after this image was taken? He got back up. He got hit again. And got up again. And two weeks later, participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery again. 6 months after, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed.
He sucked it up.
The point here is, this sucks. Tomorrow is gonna suck. Watching Cheeto Jesus take the oath of office to be the next President of the United States, to continue to nominate woefully unqualified people to cabinet positions, to continue to push the boundaries of diplomacy with China, to make disgusting and ridiculous statements is gonna fucking suck. My house is divided over watching the inauguration. My kids are trying to figure if they should stay in class tomorrow. But the fact remains, Donald Trump is going to be President. That shit is happening tomorrow, love it or hate it. He’s going to hit us with that damn billy club.
You and me, all of us, we have a choice: we can lay down and just take it, or we can get our skull fractured, suck it up and get the fuck back up again.
I’ve said it before: democracy is not a spectator sport. Like those protestors on the Edmund Pettus bridge or the protestors on the Washington Mall on January 21, citizenship requires action to move our populace forward. There is an active assault on healthcare for all Americans and specifically, reproductive rights and health alternatives for women. That shit is happening. You and I have an obligation to listen to the words that are spoken, support our free press (subscribe to local and national newspapers), hold our leaders accountable (blow up their phones, chase them down at town hall meetings), VOTE—show up and show out.
So suck it up, buttercup, and get out there and do your part.