Buttigieg the Competition

The 2020 election, Mayor Pete, and masculinity

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I’m excited about Mayor Pete. In an extremely crowded Democratic presidential candidate field, some candidates, more than others, are easy to forget or not even learn about at all. Can you believe there’s a guy named Hickenlooper? Incredible name, yet also unfortunate. You’d figure he’d at least be memorable for that name alone, but, like a goldfish, I immediately forget who he is as soon as I learn about him. In researching Hickenlooper, I discovered that he actually suffers from face blindness, which is unfortunate, yet incredible.

Mayor Pete has the potential to become the first openly gay president if elected. Mayor Pete is also a millennial, currently age 37. He’s a former Rhodes Scholar, veteran, and current mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Pete Buttigieg (BOOT-edge-edge) has a lot going for him. Watching any of his interviews or recent Town Hall on CNN with Jake Tapper, Mayor Pete exudes a quiet confidence and intelligence that is both refreshing and worrisome. In Mayor Pete’s own words, his campaign is about “intergenerational justice” that looks not only to 2020 but well beyond that in the future. Mayor Pete’s support on issues such as passing the Equality Act, which would grant non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, abolishing the electoral college, and combating climate change with investments in urban infrastructure reflects the political climate of his millennial upbringing.

I like Buttigieg because he’s smart; for the same reason, I also really enjoy Elizabeth Warren. Her proposals are meticulous, clearly articulated, and attempt to tackle systemic problems in the United States in real and accountable ways. Yet, every day we’re inundated with articles and news clippings about candidates like Biden or Beto who use antiquated ideas of masculinity to drum up enthusiasm and electability. Beto, after weeks of metaphorically edging the pundit and voter community, finally announced he was running for president by sitting on a couch with his silent wife, staring into the camera, and, famously, said he was “born for this” in his Vanity Fair cover. What the hell was that On The Road soul-searching bullshit? At the end of the road, he discovered, uncritically, that people like him because he’s kinda hot and he is destined to run for president because……he wants to? And onto Biden. Absolutely not. Who’s asking for that? Seriously? Biden would benefit from not running to maintain the “Cool Uncle Joe” characterization The Onion has graciously given him for so many years.

Listen, I’m tired. Every day feels like there’s a new crisis to wear us down - make us fight for our existence or our rights or the existence and rights of those around us. What was once a time of hope and progress has turned into rollercoaster that has reached a summit only to hurdle relentlessly backwards without any sign of stopping. I don’t want to think about the president every day or what his especially dumb thoughts are on every single topic that comes into our cultural consciousness. I know there’s privilege in thinking that way and privilege in being able to not think about the government and how it’s enacting its policies unless those policies are directly affecting me. Trump’s bombastic ranting about even the most trivial of topics gets turned into a never-ending news cycle churning out think-piece upon think-piece with pundits acting as if the loosely strung together sentence that hardly passes for a coherent thought should become our new national discourse.

The 2020 election is looming and you can vote for whomever you want. But, after years of ineffective leadership, racist fear mongering, and enacting policies that are detrimental to our most vulnerable communities in the United States, we need a breath of fresh air. We don’t need viral moment after viral moment. We need momentum. We need politicians who are intelligent, accountable, and stable and who will leads us back on the path towards progress. I’m not entirely sure if Pete Buttigieg will be the one to do that for our country, or Warren, or any of the other Democratic candidates, but I sure hope they try.

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