Why I am donating, volunteering, and voting for Mayor Pete Buttigieg

by Jeff Jifu Bartee – Nov 12, 2019 (Medium.com, abridged)

I am a 66-year-old, white, CIS gendered, gay man. I think that is enough adjectives to understand what I want to communicate about my commitment to Pete For America 2020 Presidential campaign.

As a gay man having lived in NYC in the late 70s, San Francisco in the 80s and Atlanta in the 90s, I witnessed firsthand at the very height of the AIDS epidemic, what a President’s, ignorance, denial, disdain and blatant dismissal of a whole generation of gay men created what can only be described as a genocide.

I have always voted ever since I could. My governmental political involvement was limited to showing up at the voting polls on election days. I have never immersed myself in the issues or the particulars of any candidate’s platform. Nor have I donated nor actively volunteered for any level candidate until I heard Mayor Pete back in March 2019. The day he came to speak to a small, but SRO crowd in Greenville, South Carolina.

I listened and truly heard Pete’s well-formed and informed policies using his framework of Freedom, Security, and Democracy. I consider myself an educated person, but this young man from the small Midwest town of South Bend, (a town I only knew of because my Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team have played their national power team from Notre Dame), was truly an education for me. His palpable love, compassionate and caring for all Americans came through with such ease. He is humble, intelligent and a unifier.

I had my qualms about volunteering at the local level here in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I made up false stories in my mind that the key voting blocks in South Carolina; i.e. the more conservative voters, the young millennials, or the Christian African American voters were not interested in, or even more damaging to Pete’s campaign, would be put-off by the presence or words of an old, white, gay man. My internal story feared I would have to partially, if not totally, go back into a closet that I broke down some 45 years ago. But what I heard and learned from the Pete2020 campaign organizers, from Chasten, Pete’s husband and Pete himself, is that I have value, I have a voice and a place at the table in Pete’s Campaign and beyond.

Pete still inspires and educates me on a daily basis. But most importantly he brings me hope. Early on I told my local Pete For America Coordinator, Kara Glennon, that I am committed to doing whatever this semi-retired guy, that is coping with post-open-heart surgery recovery, can do to get Pete elected President the day after my 67th birthday!

I urge everyone to take time and give Pete a look. Go to PeteForAmerica.com and utilize the dynamic search engine tool and enter any platform, issue or concern you may have. You will then be taken to a video, stump speech, or interview. View, read, listen and learn about this truly amazing man.

[read in full at Medium.com]

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