Tag Archives: necessary

The power of Therapy, Medication, and Pete Buttigieg

by Eva Oliveri – Jan 20, 2020 (Medium.com)

Usually, when reflecting on the end of the year and what is to come, people tend to post beginning/end of year selfies or state their resolutions. Instead, I would like to tell you how, this year, a presidential candidate changed my life. In January of 2019, I was lost and scared of the future. Not just in terms of our political climate, especially since 2016, but personally as well. At the end of 2018 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. In January I was coming back to school for the first time since going into inpatient treatment.

While better than I first was, I knew I faced the scary and oftentimes excruciatingly long path towards finding stability and proper treatment. I was too focused on that at first to pay much attention to the primaries. It was early, anyway. In February, during a regular YouTube browsing binge, a recommended video called Pete Buttigieg: The Case For A Younger President from Colbert popped up. Intrigued, I clicked on it, & 7 minutes later I was introduced to Pete Buttigieg, and knew right away he was my candidate. His kindness, empathy, and desire to make the world a better, more welcoming place for everyone was evident.

I educated myself on all things Pete. I found joy, and not fear, in paying attention to politics for the first time in a long time. I also realized politics was my calling. In June, I switched my major to Political Science (after a lot of prior changes) and threw myself into it. When watching Pete’s speech on Health and Belonging in America, he mentioned Bipolar Disorder by name, stating how it shouldn’t be stigmatized or treated any differently than a physical ailment. While seemingly simple, hearing a presidential candidate not just acknowledge, but advocate for people like myself was nothing I had ever heard before. Emotional and inspired, I began volunteering in my area for Pete.

Through meeting others, it quickly became clear we supported Pete for different reasons, and that was celebrated and encouraged. I was feeling better, and like I was finally able to make a tangible difference, what more could I ask for? Then, I was honored with the opportunity to become the UCF Campus Coordinator for Pete. Perhaps about 8 hours after accepting the position, I was told that Pete’s husband, Chasten, would be in the area and was willing to come to my university and speak to students. I had never been more happy to be stressed, and, thanks to the confidence the campaign had given me, was able to plan and moderate a Q&A with Chasten and my peers (and yes, Chasten is just as kind and welcoming as he seems!).

Though I have only been in this role for a short time, I can undoubtedly say it has changed my life. While I’m not going to say Pete single handedly gave me stability (thank you therapy & medication), I can say without a doubt he has given me something to fight for & believe in. I have gained friends from campuses across the country. Most importantly, I have gained hope. I am honored and proud to be a member of and #StudentsforPete. Let’s go into 2020 with fire in our bellies and #WintheEra.

Pete Buttigieg And The Longing For Good Leaders

by Erika Andersen – Jan 10, 2020 (Forbes.com, abridged)

As I’ve been following the Democratic presidential primary over the past year, amidst all the usual punditry and posturing, I’ve noticed one truly unusual thing: the ascendency of Pete Buttigieg.

Here’s a young man in his late 30s who – although unusually accomplished and experienced in a variety of interesting and relevant ways – has never held a national political office and was virtually unknown nationally when he formed his presidential exploratory committee in January of 2019. He had a handful of staffers, a small mailing list, and a few thousand dollars in funding. He is not personally wealthy (in fact, he and his husband have six-figure student debt), and his most significant work experience is the eight years he just completed as mayor of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana.

From those modest beginnings, over the past year he has vaulted past a historically huge field of governors, congresspeople, mayors of much larger cities, and billionaires to take his place as one of four top contenders for the nomination. The other three – Warren, Sanders and Biden – have all spent decades on the national political stage and have very high national name recognition.  Two of them have run for President before, and one of them has been Vice President. They started their campaigns with millions of dollars personally and in their campaign coffers, multiple endorsements from key national figures, and mailing lists in the hundreds of thousands.Today In: Leadership

What’s going on here?

I have, as you might suspect, a theory. I wrote a book eight years ago called Leading So People Will Follow, and on the first page, I note that human beings crave, and have always craved, good leaders – that we long for good, worthy, followable leaders in every aspect of our lives. I state my belief that this longing is ancient, primal – a survival mechanism. I believe it is part of what helped us survive in ages past, when choosing the wrong leader could lead to starvation, being overrun by invaders, the erosion of law and civility. I further note that this instinct moves us to look for leaders who we feel will guide us well and safely; who will care more about the success of the enterprise than about their own comfort; who will call out our best and take full advantage of who we are. Finally I reflected that, although the stakes in choosing leaders aren’t as high today is in previous centuries, our wiring hasn’t really changed.

I believe what I said then about our longing for leaders is even more true now. But I was wrong about the stakes – at least in this presidential election: the stakes may actually be higher than they’ve ever been, given the fragile state of geopolitics, our polarization socially and in terms of income and opportunity, and the existential threat of climate change. And our longing for good, true, honorable leaders has become correspondingly stronger; more of an ache, a thirst.

And it seems to me that millions of people are going right to that primal longing, looking past the amount of time spent in Congress or on the planet, and seeing Pete Buttigieg as this kind of leader.

In the Leading book, I further clarified what we look for in the leaders we want to follow, focusing on six timeless attributes that show up in stories told all over the world as being the necessary characteristics of the person who can slay the dragons, defeat the villains and allow us to live happily ever after. We look, and have always looked, for leaders who are Farsighted, Passionate, Courageous, Wise, Generous and Trustworthy.  And it seems to me that those characteristics show up again and again in Pete’s life and leadership.

He’s farsighted: he understands the big issues facing us – climate crisis, healthcare, racial and social inequity, immigration, gun violence – and sees the connections among all those things. He has proposed feasible plans to address them in a systemic and inclusive way. His reaction to the killing of Soleimani is a perfect example of Buttigieg calling us to look past a simplistic, short-term response and take into consideration the bigger picture and how that will impact us: “We need a strategy. Not just to deal with individual threats, rivalries and opportunities, but to manage global trends that will define the balance of this half-century in which my generation will live the majority of our lives.”

He’s passionate: He is deeply committed to the things about which he feels strongly – and keeps focusing on them no matter what’s happening around him. I see him reclaiming the core ideas of freedom, democracy, and security from the right, and expressing them – and fighting for them – as the progressive ideas they truly are. He talks about the importance of, for instance, reproductive freedom, and the freedom to start a small business or change jobs that would come from not being worried about losing your healthcare. He talks about improving our democracy by getting rid of the electoral college, moving corporate money out of politics and ending partisan gerrymandering and voter suppression.  And he focuses on addressing the critical security concerns of climate and cybersecurity. And not only does Buttigieg speak – clearly and compellingly – about his deep support for these things, he has worked to advance these issues throughout his time as mayor, and even earlier, as a college student and young professional working to get out the vote for progressive candidates who supported these values.

He’s courageous: he gives straightforward answers to difficult questions; he takes responsibility for his mistakes; he has led – and improved – his city calmly through fires, floods, and racial unrest. He is far better than any other politician I’ve observed at admitting when he’s made a mistake and has done something badly – and then working to improve, both himself and the outcome. He has made tough decisions: enlisting in the Navy reserve, and serving in Afghanistan; deciding to come out when he was running for his second term as mayor; leaving the campaign trail and returning home to respond to his community’s anger and grief in the wake of the fatal shooting of Eric Logan, a black man, by a South Bend police officer – doing these things because they seemed to him to be the right thing to do, even though they weren’t easy, personally beneficial, or politically expedient. We want this in our leaders, especially now: we want to know that they will be both brave and honorable in difficult and complicated times.

He’s wise: Pete is an astonishingly good listener (when he speaks, he almost always spends more than half his time on stage inviting and responding to questions) and he sees and shares the patterns in what he hears. For example, his Douglass Plan to address systemic racism, named for 19th century black abolitionist and politician Frederick Douglass, was developed in conversation with experts of color working in many areas of social justice, including the Douglass Foundation itself. Wisdom is the thoughtful application of knowledge, and Buttigieg’s plan builds on the facts of our current reality in the U.S. to outline a coordinated and feasible approach to dismantling the unjust and unequal policies and laws that have made it more difficult for people of color to thrive in housing, education, business, healthcare and criminal justice. When a leader is wise, we know that she or he will think deeply, alone and with others, about critical issues and will work to find solutions that are coherent, achievable and effective. Supporters of Pete’s see this quality in his plans and actions, and it makes them feel their deepest concerns will be dealt with fairly and well.

He’s generous: he is hopeful about our potential to move forward from this divisive time and find our way into a successful future together; he’s compassionate and loving toward even his enemies; he brings out the best in people. Talking to those who have worked most closely with him, both in his campaign and during his time as Mayor, you hear again and again that he is generous with his time and praise, that he freely shares information, power, responsibility and credit. One story I found particularly affecting: A doctor, working the emergency room of a hospital in South Bend when a Somalian mother and her gravely ill son arrived, was frantically trying to find someone to translate Arabic so he could help his patients, when “this young guy in a suit” showed up and began to translate. The mysterious young man spent about an hour helping the doctor and his colleagues understand what was happening and decide with the mother how to proceed, then took the mother and child to their room and spent another hour reassuring and talking with them. He finally returned to shake the doctor’s hand and say goodbye, and the doctor thanked him and asked how long he had been working at the hospital. He casually replied, “I don’t work for the hospital, I’m Mayor Pete.” The doctor found out later that Buttigieg had heard about the situation over the police scanner and simply wanted to help. (Arabic is one of seven languages he speaks.)

And finally, he’s trustworthy. In listening to Buttigieg respond to questions, I’ve noticed that he most often begins his response to even difficult or politically fraught questions with a simple “yes” or “no” before offering more context or explanation. Unlike most politicians, he doesn’t divert to a stock bland answer, prevaricate or evade: he tells the truth as he sees it. Perhaps even more important, he does what he says he’s going to do. He became Mayor of South Bend largely on the strength of his promise of revitalization; South Bend had just been listed by Newsweek as one of America’s “dying cities.” Eight years later, his promise of revitalization is being fulfilled in a variety of ways: unemployment is down dramatically, and the population is rising for the first time in decades.  The city has garnered hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment – industrial, commercial, and residential. Over a thousand vacant, unlivable homes have been demolished or repaired, and a community development organization started to help continue the process of supporting low-income people to repair their homes.  Even the lone Republican member of the South Bend City Council says, “I think if you ask not just me, but a lot of Republicans in South Bend, they’d have to admit that Pete has done a good job in a lot of ways. He’s done a great job of attracting new and exciting economic development opportunities. He’s got an eye for attracting young, innovative talent to the city and really breathing new life into an administration that could have been described before as old and maybe not so forward-thinking.” Especially in times of change and challenge, we want leaders who will tell us the truth and deliver on their promises.

In November of this year, we’ll find out which candidate Americans will select to lead us at this critical time. Given what I’m seeing now, I believe it may be that the more voters get to know about Pete Buttigieg, the more they will see in him these qualities of farsightedness, passion, courage, wisdom, generosity and trustworthiness. And our longing for that kind of leadership could send him to the White House, to guide Americans into a new and more hopeful and equitable chapter in our nation’s history.

“I think [Pete] will heal the country, and we need healing now”

by Morey Stettner – Jan 3, 2020 (SeaCoastOnline.com, abridged)

Addressing a packed South Church audience on Friday evening, Pete Buttigieg sought to emphasize inclusiveness both in his policies and his presidential campaign. In a 19-minute speech followed by 12 questions from the crowd, he repeatedly voiced a desire to enact plans that would benefit a wide swath of Americans while unifying the country at the same time.

“Taking out a bad guy is not necessarily a good idea,” he said. “What we know for sure is American citizens are in harm’s way tonight.”

Citing his experience serving in Afghanistan in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Buttigieg noted that the action could ensnare American troops in more fighting.

“They deserve a Commander in Chief who takes their lives seriously,” he declared.

He organized the rest of his prepared remarks into four themes: values, faith, democracy and freedom. In terms of values, he contrasted his brand of patriotism with President Donald Trump, adding that the next president needs to galvanize, not polarize.

“You can’t love a country if you hate half the people in it,” he said.

Nick Bell, a registered independent from Portsmouth, said Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were his two top picks. A junior at the University of Vermont, Bell described his paramount issue as “social and economic equal opportunity.”

“Buttigieg is 17 years older than me,” Bell said, musing about whether a 37-year-old possessed sufficient experience to be president.

Other voters seemed more swayed by Buttigieg. Donning a Buttigieg button, Gritt Benton said she supported him because of his communication skills and message of unity.

“He speaks beautifully,” she said. “I like his energy. I think he will heal the country, and we need healing now.”

Pete Buttigieg Is The Man With The Plan We Need

by Lamell McMorris – Dec 23, 2019 (MichiganChronicle.com)

Frederick Douglass asks in his “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”: “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” Through my career as a civil rights leader, a successful entrepreneur giving back to my community, and being actively involved in critical Black institutions, such as the NAACP, NAN, National Urban League, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and three leading HBCUs, I have always worked to further expand freedom and justice for Black Americans, who have experienced systemic barriers since our country’s founding. These struggles have always been at the forefront of my mind and my work.

In this critical election, where our world is buffeted by historic changes, and as our current president condones prejudice every day, we need a proven leader with a plan to lead us through the chaos this administration will leave behind and, in its place, intentionally rebuild our institutions and policies that will empower and uplift our people and our communities.

I’ve seen a lot of leaders in my time, leaders who have helped my community grow, and leaders who have sacrificed and fought their whole lives to change policies that have hurt my community.

Pete Buttigieg is the leader we need right now with the best plan to empower Black Americans.

In 2012, he took over leadership of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, with a plan to turn around a Rust Belt city that had been dismissed as “dying.” And then he rolled up his sleeves and worked with his community to revitalize his hometown. He created a small business incubator on the historically Black West Side and installed WiFi in parks and public housing to expand opportunity for all the city’s residents. Working hand in hand with churches and nonprofits, he helped bring early childhood education to neighborhoods that needed it most and raised the minimum wage for city employees. And committed to safety and transparency, Pete’s administration worked to hold the police accountable with new training and technology, like body cameras, and partnered with community leaders to keep young people out of the criminal justice system.

Real challenges remain. But eight years later, South Bend is a city transformed. If you drive through South Bend on your way to Chicago, where I was born, you will see a city that is no longer a former shell of itself.

Now, Pete is bringing his vision and leadership to the contest for president of the United States.

Building on the work he has begun in South Bend, Pete has put forward a Frederick Douglass Plan, crafted with the aid of civil rights leaders, advocates, and business leaders, including input from the Douglass family itself, tackling institutional racism in our country. From injecting capital into the Black community to reforming broken criminal justice and health systems, the Douglass Plan is a sweeping strategy to combat systemic racism and unlock the full potential of Black America. While all of the Democratic candidates recognize the importance of addressing these challenges, Pete is the only candidate who has put forth a plan to actively reverse the harms that have compounded over centuries.

When it comes to empowerment through education, Pete’s administration will invest $50 billion to transform our HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions and help further level the playing field between them and other world-class institutions. As a Morehouse Man and board member of two HBCUs, I know firsthand the extraordinary role these schools play in educating the next generation of Black leaders.

To uplift aspiring entrepreneurs, Pete will triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas within 10 years, creating over 3 million new jobs. Having founded multiple businesses, I know how many great ideas will be unlocked with greater access to capital.

The Douglass Plan further recognizes that the neighborhoods we live in still determine so much of our success in life. So many families have had their opportunities circumscribed by the pen of a mortgage lender; 74 percent of neighborhoods that were redlined in the 1930s remain low-income to this day. My development firm, Greenlining Realty USA, has been actively working to counter the effects of redlining in the West Woodlawn community on the South Side of Chicago where I grew up. So I am particularly gratified that Pete is proposing a 21st Century Community Homestead Act that would dramatically expand people’s ability to acquire properties and build wealth instead of being forced out by gentrification.

Whether he’s proposing to invest in Black America, rising to meet the climate crisis, or combating hate and gun violence, Pete has proven he has the right vision for our country. But perhaps equally as important, he has the leadership qualities to deliver on these promises.

Meeting with him recently in Atlanta, I found him to be not only brilliant but genuine, an authentic leader who values honesty and transparency and seeks to build consensus. When his efforts in South Bend faced opposition, he worked to bring community leaders, residents, and other stakeholders along.

As we continue our work to extend the principles of political freedom and natural justice, so that Black Americans are fully empowered in our country, Pete has proven himself to be the leader with the best plan that we need right now.

Pete Buttigieg would be a president who will listen

by Linda Quintanilha – Jan 1, 2020 (LedgerTranscript.com)

For over a decade, I’ve been fighting alongside people with disabilities and their families. I’ve stood with mothers whose children were being restrained and secluded in schools. I’ve seen the fear in the faces of parents about to enter an IEP meeting knowing their child may not get what they need. 

I’ve watched families ripped apart by a mental health diagnosis, feeling left alone and desperate for help. I’ve seen grandmothers raising small children with autism trying to navigate a system that did not exist when their own children were in school. 

I have friends with disabilities who have a near impossible time finding a job, and often have to settle for unpaid “internships” as if they were somehow less deserving. I’ve met with too many caregivers who can make more at McDonalds or Walmart than they can caring for our most vulnerable citizens. 

These amazing people are our friends and neighbors – and they are struggling to navigate a system determined to chip away at their dignity.  But they don’t whine about how hard it is. They cringe when people tell them, “I don’t know how you do it” because for them it’s just parenting or caring for a loved one. While they don’t complain, caring for their loved ones should be easier and more dignified. 

With them in mind, I wrote letters to many of the local organizers from presidential campaigns asking about disability rights. Only one campaign responded – Pete Buttigieg’s.

 Within two days an organizer knocked on my door. She sat and she listened.  She didn’t ask me for anything – not even my vote.  She just listened.  The following day, a campaign staffer was on the phone with me and another disability advocate arranging for us to talk to the national policy team about our input on Pete’s disability policy. I put the campaign in touch with people I respect around the country who share my values and have policy experience.  All along the way, I was asked for my input and kept in the loop. It was clear my voice mattered. 

The result is a disability policy that is the most comprehensive I’ve seen from any candidate since I’ve joined the club of mothers of kids with disabilities. Pete talks in great detail about so many issues that New Hampshire families have been fighting for like an end to waitlists, restraints, corporal punishment, and the disproportionate rates of incarceration for people with disabilities. He addresses the need for alternative communication so that every student can communicate and offers supports so students with disabilities can successfully transition from high school to college or a career. 

His plan even ensures that during a disaster first responders are able to recognize and assist people with disabilities during times of escalated behaviors. And of course he addresses civil rights, accessibility, global leadership on disability issues, technology, housing, and more. These are just a few of the highlights of a 17-page policy which raises the bar on disability issues for all the presidential candidates today and in the future. 

I’m proud to have had a small voice in the process, and I’m proud to be a Pete supporter. I’m even prouder to be a New Hampshire citizen that can say first hand that even in today’s political environment, all of our voices can be heard, we just have to decide to vote for the candidate who listens – and that candidate is clearly Pete Buttigieg.