If I had to name one of the most important qualities of Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for president, it’s the message he’s sending that we need not live in constant fear. Pete is a candidate of sturdy, sensible thinking and a basic understanding of the common human decency we all share. When you have these qualities, you don’t need to motivate using abject terror and perpetual abasement.
In three short years, President Donald Trump has transformed this country into a frying pan of hot aggression he readily jostles around whenever he needs a distraction from a self-made crisis or a new excuse to rattle American confidence. “I extorted a foreign country hoping they’d smear a rival? Well, Nancy Pelosi is threatening national security! I revived ISIS by pulling troops from the Syria-Turkey border? Well, the Dems are trying to reverse an election and steal away your rights!”
Trump is exhausting. Like “running a marathon without hydrating, then immediately giving birth to twins while simultaneously being forced to watch Schindler’s List and solve a Rubik’s Cube at gunpoint” exhausting.
I do believe there was a brief time during his first year in office, however, when Trump was honestly misguided enough to believe he might make a good president. It wasn’t until January 18, 2018, that he finally realized how over his head he truly was.
On that day, Trump was meeting with prominent congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to discuss the impending demise of DACA. The Cabinet Room was packed with stoic faces and American flag pins; the situation was urgent. And in his daft conviction that everything he does is worthy of camera time, Trump foolishly allowed the press to stick around for nearly an hour to record the whole thing. What began as an opportunity for the president to preach about bipartisanship, a word he can neither define nor spell, devolved into a rancid crap storm of his own making.
With each passing minute, Trump not only revealed he understood zip about DACA and the workings of policy reform, he nearly got played by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who got Trump to agree to a clean bill on DACA which would include none of the Republican dreams of ending chain migration or funding the wall (those things, he stunningly agreed with Feinstein could be addressed later, once DACA had been saved). It would be a “bill of love!” Trump declared. That led Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Martha McSally to go white-faced and forcibly speak over their leader to get him to shut his trap before he abandoned every single objective on immigration the Republicans ever had.
That day, It was mortifyingly clear that Donald Trump had neither an understanding nor any interest in immigration reform, and was the only person in the room who, from a political standpoint, had no business being there. For most of the meeting, arms folded tightly across his chest, Trump possessed the confidence of a pimply-faced teenage girl on the sidelines of the gym at senior prom.
Within hours of this catastrophe, Trump was taken offline and re-programmed by alt-right serpents Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller with an anti-immigrant software update that was better in step with their white nationalist objectives. We were back to demonizing everyone not born on American soil. It was like the words “bill of love” had never been uttered.
Since then, there have been no moves on the part of our president to distinguish himself as a leader who follows any guiding principles that don’t serve his own ego. His entire presidency is now openly built around the blunt pursuit of criminal activity and increase of personal wealth. And whenever the press begins to get wind of some new ways he’s attempting to rob the world blind, out comes the Trump brand of weaponized fear. Radical Islamic terrorists are moving onto your block! Bernie wants the U.S to become Venezuela! Athletes on bended knee are insulting your homeland! Is the gardener leering at your teenage daughter?
Who can live like this? People who enjoy misery, that’s who. And they are everywhere. They drink too much. They use sarcasm to disguise insecurity. They’ll show up at a town hall and yell, “What are you going to do for me!” then sit down with folded arms and wait, certain their own participation in a solution is not required.
I was lucky I got my act together. I used to be one of those people. I think you can pin my wake-up call to sometime in November, 2016.
Because it’s easier to live in fear than it is to stand up and fight for our deeply felt beliefs, it’s crucial we remain vigilant and loud in our support of Pete Buttigieg. There are still many out there waiting to learn his name and discover what he can do to strengthen the foundation of our way of life.
Yes, climate change is something we should be concerned about. And President Pete will re-commit to the Paris Agreement, put a price on carbon and rebate the savings back to all Americans, and move to retrofit buildings to create energy savings and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That last one involves private industry and means new jobs, two tenets Republicans always claim to love but can’t talk about much lately, despite all those booming “Infrastructure Weeks” we’ve had.
Americans are now far more uninsured and under-insured than they were in 2016, thanks to the cruel Trump scare tactics designed to discredit the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan composed seemingly of get well cards, bankruptcy filings and Ibuprofen. A Buttigieg administration will offer Americans the chance to live a healthy life regardless of their income level, location, ethnicity or pre-existing condition. His proposal of a public plan sitting alongside private options will lead to competitive pricing and cost reduction. Under Pete’s Medicare for All Who Want It plan, the health care industry, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that go with it, will not be dismantled (again… are you paying attention, Republicans? You like these things!).
And while we all agree we need strong, secure borders, we don’t have to pour endless billions into a 19th century steel wall and turn immigrants into national ghouls. And we certainly don’t need to be separating mothers from children, locking both in cages where toothpaste, toilet paper, blankets and love are deemed unearned luxuries.
President Buttigieg will immediately shut the door on the perverse immigration policies of the unholy Trump/Bannon/Miller axis that have only served to celebrate the most beastly sides of humanity. Pete will advocate legislation (read: not executive orders) to provide legal status and ultimately citizenship to DACA recipients. Pete’s administration will invest in modern and cost-efficient technologies at the border: artificial intelligence, drones, 3D sensors, and good old-fashioned cameras (you know, those things Trump slobbers around). For a fraction of the money billionaire cronies will receive for building a wall which will be obsolete before it’s even completed, America can have safer and more effective border security.
In a Buttigieg administration, we won’t fear immigrants, medical catastrophe or increasing global temperatures. We won’t be terrorized into living in a moral paralysis. We won’t fear deluded images of national carnage. We are a tremendous country of wealth, innovation, determination and heart. We have had leaders who exemplified the best in us. With Pete Buttigieg, we can have that again.