An Essay About Healing & Hope by 200 Members of a Facebook Group for Pete Buttigieg
Over 200 of the 18,000+ members of Team Pete Buttigieg 2020 recently responded to a group post, asking about the ways Pete has affected their lives. Some of those comments were selected for this essay— which, taken together, reveals quite a remarkable story.
The question was asked in the group because over the last few months, many of us began to realize that in the course of supporting his candidacy for President, Pete had already begun to positively influence our lives and, by extension, the lives of our families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. We became increasingly aware that for us, Pete’s candidacy was rekindling lost optimism, generating personal fulfillment, and fueling our zeal to rededicate ourselves to the restorative principles Pete demonstrates: Humanitarianism, justice, equality, understanding, and compassion. Along the way, #BeLikePete has become much more than just a campaign hashtag. It is a way to heal from the constant pain of the hate, division and rancor in which the nation has been mired over the past 3 years.
What follows are our own words, woven together — as if with a single first-person voice — to confirm that we, like Pete, are committed to recognizing when something is wrong and acting to make it right. Even before a single vote has been cast, Pete has shown us that lives guided by benevolence can indeed repair a broken world.
The first time I ever heard Pete Buttigieg speak, my wounded soul started to heal. I felt hope for the first time in a very long time. I thought we were doomed, but his words calmed me in the midst of this insanity, and reassured me that there is still light to snuff out the darkness. I sat and listened and soaked up every word like a child listening to a well-told story for the very first time.
Pete Buttigieg is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. His life is his resumé for the office of President: child of an immigrant; minority (gay); intelligent; multi-lingual; veteran; public servant. As a leader, he represents everything that is important to me — strength, kindness, compassion, and diplomacy. He’s courageous, selfless, trustworthy and he gives hope to those who have felt discriminated against or left out.
Because of Pete, I work hard to follow his “Rules of the Road”. They are good rules to live by. The vast majority of his supporters follow them, which is why the culture of this group is wholly defined by them: Respect, Belonging, Truth, Teamwork, Boldness, Responsibility, Substance, Discipline, Excellence, Joy. They are all necessary, but Pete’s understanding of the importance of “belonging” was what closed the deal for me. Belonging is such a deep word. Belonging is what keeps the fabric of society together — for the immigrants, the foreigners, the ones who are on the outskirts, in the margins; the ones who are looking for someone to understand. When Pete talks it’s not only, “Yes I get it,” but it’s, “Yes, I get it. Let’s do something so you feel that you belong.” That means the whole world to me.
Here, with my fellow Pete supporters, I’ve never felt so welcomed, accepted, and appreciated in my life. Now, I found something else that had been missing: Joy. I find that I no longer view seeking joy as a distraction from tasks, but now as a necessary part of following the “Rules of the Road.” Purposely adding joy each day makes everything else more enjoyable too.
I see Pete as a highly evolved human with a deeper purpose in his life than just satisfying material needs. One of the most exciting prospects about Pete’s long-range vision is that his is a young man’s dream. It is a dream that will awaken other dreamers. It is a dream that reverses partisanship and harnesses the energy of patriotism and service. It combines the vision of the Marshall Plan and the Moon Shot, both of which were made possible by the New Deal and the New Frontier. At the beginning, none of these dreams seemed possible. They needed the right leader ready to take risks at the right time. Pete Buttigieg is such a leader.
For the first time in 3 years, I’m more optimistic than pessimistic, more peaceful than anxious, and more secure than nervous about what the future of our country and our world will be. When Trump was running, my kids — and my students — asked me if I thought he could win. I laughed it off. Following that horrible day in November 2016, I learned just how wrong I was. After having some of my students detained and some of their parents deported, after seeing some of the LGBTQ+ rights attacked, and hateful voices get legitimized, I shut down. I was angry and hurt, and I assumed the worst about people — especially family and friends who had voted for that monster. But now, because of Pete, I am letting go of my anger and using that energy to be more involved in the solution. With a colleague, I’ve started a club for LGBTQ+ students in my school. I’ve attended local government and school board meetings, and come out to more people at work and in my family. After curling up in the fetal position (metaphorically for almost 3 years) guarding myself from further betrayal, I’ve rejoined the human race because Pete inspires me to be hopeful and act on that hope — a hope that change is possible, and that love and respect can become the norm. I’m excited for the future and mindful of my place and how attitude can change perceptions of the world around us. I’ve learned and live by doing good. We all belong here. I am a better person than I’ve ever been. I am happy.
Pete has literally changed my life. He reminds me that we only get to live one life; and that made me more conscious of the legacy I was leaving. I must admit that when I first took notice of Pete, there was this nagging doubt that this country would never elect him President. Still, I continued to learn and, the more I did, the more I realized that I needed to listen to what my inner voice was telling me. Pete is a good man, and I had this quiet faith that just continued to grow. Until I realized, of course, that I shouldn’t be keeping it quiet. I finally found my voice. Now I’m using it.
Pete’s youth doesn’t frighten me, it inspires me. His “lack” of experience doesn’t concern me, it emboldens me. His intellectual pedigree humbles me. Decisions are made by the people who show up. I have found a new form of confidence in speaking to complete strangers. I have found new use for my ability to understand complex ideas. Pete has reignited my political fire, and turned those feelings of frustration and futility into passion.
The entire Pete community brings light and a sense of calm and peace that just feeds my soul. I want to be a better person, to aim higher because of Pete. He has inspired me to accept when I am wrong, admit it, learn and move on with better knowledge. He can heal what is broken in this country. To me, right now, supporting Pete is the single best thing I can do to contribute to a better future for my kids, my grandkids — and yours, too. #PresidentPete