Americans need moral leadership and Buttigieg can deliver

by Larry Baker – Sept 20, 2019 (

When we elect a president, we elect someone to represent our interests. Even if we disagree with specific policies, we still expect him (or, her) to act as our agent in the Constitutional maintenance of our national goals: “… a more perfect Union … Justice … domestic Tranquility … the common defence … the general Welfare … the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

That is the presidential executive role.

We need intelligence and intellectual curiosity. We need someone who understands and can articulate American values. We need someone whose vision includes the inclusion of everyone at the American table and America at the head of the world table. We need a president with empathy and courage and grace. We need a president whose life itself embodies those values.

If I told you that I supported a candidate who was a child of immigrants, a Rhodes Scholar, an honors graduate of Harvard and Oxford, a Navy veteran who served in the Afghanistan War, who was a successful mayor of a Midwestern town, spoke eight languages, played Gershwin with a symphony orchestra, wrote a critically praised memoir, traveled the world but returned to his hometown to marry and then live in a house two streets away from the house in which he grew up, and whose life is guided by a Christian Social Gospel rather than faux-Christian Prosperity Gospel — you might be interested, right?

But then I told you that he was 37 years old. “Too young, too young,“ you would insist.

Too young? Do not confuse age with maturity or political vision. Go ask James Madison and Alexander Hamilton about that.

Pete Buttigieg is the youngest candidate, but also the best.

Do I support all his policy proposals? Of course not. I’m Left. He’s Left of Center. Besides, any new president’s policies will go through the massage therapy (sausage factory?) of Congress and come out compromised.

But, the most indelible impression left on me after I watched the early debates? He was not really talking to the other candidates or to the moderators. He was speaking directly to the country. On those stages, he was the most presidential, admitting his own mistakes, but calling on Republicans to re-connect with their consciences and conservative Christians to return to the love of God and abandon their love of Trump. He called on America to be both humble and great at the same time. Of all the candidates, Pete has most eloquently articulated the need for “moral leadership” from a president.

I have always been skeptical of the expression, “This is the most important election of our lifetime” — until now.

This election demands that we pay attention. We must go beyond sound bites and political ads. This election demands that we read, listen, and think. Imagine the next President of the United States on the world stage, representing us.

Pete Buttigieg embodies the best of America. We can either reassert the better angels of this country by electing him, or we can re-elect Donald Trump. For me, it’s not a difficult choice.

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