Strength. Selflessness. Grace.

by C G – Oct 28, 2019 (Medium.com, abridged)

When I reflect on our government, I do not see my values reflected at all, anywhere I look. I see nothing familiar or representative of me and the values that define me. It’s not to say others can’t find good, but for me and who I am, it has been very hard. I respect the differences between us all, and I acknowledge everyone has different values-shaping experiences in life. I’m just emphasizing that for me, the last three years have felt wholly alienating and a little scary.

I was upset and felt powerless for years, that is, until I found Pete Buttigieg. The instant I saw him, I saw someone who held my values, and it felt like home. He embodies just about all of the lessons that my parents instilled in me as a young girl. He is currently running for President while weathering the storm of grief, having just lost his Dad 10 months ago.

Strength in spite of trauma.

He comes with a history of challenges, growing up gay in the midwest, hating himself and wanting desperately to be anyone else. He’s also a veteran, volunteering to serve our nation and go to war for all of us, despite not fully even loving himself at the time.

Selflessness in spite of misery.

And while on the campaign trail, he has endured the crassest, most vulgar bigotry, listening to people chant and wish him sent to hell simply because of who he loves. He never stoops. He always absorbs their taunts, and acknowledges their right to say these vile words.

Grace in spite of chaos.

I find his desire to unify our great country the key reason for my support. From my vantage point, everyone else seems to be in the business of defining the opposition, whether it be Democratic primary opponents now, or Donald Trump in 2020. Drawing lines in the sand and setting up camp, many are seemingly okay with polarized America. If you don’t fit exactly in their box, you are unwelcome or to be shamed.

We forget we are all one country, but Pete hasn’t. While in Afghanistan, he served with all kinds of different Americans and put his life in their hands. No matter what they looked like, or who they were, if they wore the US flag on their shoulder, they were brothers/sisters to be relied upon. No matter which party they supported, where they were raised, or how they talked, he held their lives in his hands and fiercly protected them as brothers/sisters do.

That is the America I want to live in. These are the values to which I am drawn, and that is why I fervently support Pete Buttigieg for President. He recently said, “You cannot claim to love your country if you hate half the people in it.” This is true for every single person in America. While we may not all agree on everything, and in fact vehemently disagree on a lot, the one thing we should agree on is our patriotism to the United States of America.

His ability to empathize with others can heal us and bridge the divides. Nobody else is seeking to represent the totality of the nation, they are only seeking to represent their corner, leaving everyone else flailing in the wind. I often feel as alienated by some of the Democratic candidates, as I do by Donald Trump. If I don’t co-sign each and every policy proposed in the Democratic primary, I am lambasted by fellow Americans for not being an authentic-enough Democrat. Similarly, if I don’t co-sign how the current administration conducts itself, which I absolutely do not, I am lambasted by fellow Americans as not being patriotic or displaying the required support of our President.This tactic of ideological purity does not even pretend to try and heal our wounds or bridge divides. It leaves no room for differing opinions in what is supposed to be the land of the free.

Pete’s positions center on our common values, like freedom, security, and democracy. These are all phrases rooted in American culture that every single American can and should support without flinching. Finding common ground isn’t compromising your values, it’s sharing them. Meeting people halfway isn’t giving up on your beliefs, it’s inclusivity and progress. Landing in the middle isn’t selling out, it’s brave and novel in the era of hyper-polarization.

He is decent to others, even those who are indecent to him. He is respectful, kind, and thoughtful, even when others are rude, unkind, and spread misinformation about him. I appreciate that he doesn’t allude his past is filled with perfection, owning his mistakes without hesitation. It humanizes him and makes him relatable. Nobody is perfect.

In closing, I vote and promote based on common morals and values, so I thank you for considering and reading my story. I wanted to share with the world who I am, why I am me, and why it leads to my sincere belief that Pete Buttigieg should be the next President of the United States. We are all different, but I think finding the common thread that weaves us together is the key to belonging in this nation. For me, Pete is the one seeking to weave that thread once more.

[read in full at Medium.com]

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