Pete Buttigieg—The Self-Differentiated Leader America Needs

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Self-differentiated leadership. We need it. Pete has it.

A self-differentiated leader like Pete is the bounty of fresh water for which this nation thirsts. Those who have come to know Pete well will recognize Pete as the very definition of a self-differentiated leader. He is that rare candidate who:

  • Lives without straying from his clearly defined ethical principles.
  • Persists in opposing the forces of the status quo if there is demonstrated opportunity for beneficial change or progress — measured in humanitarian outcomes.
  • Champions the values of justice, equality, right and humanity without rest — and without regard for his own vulnerability.
  • Disengages from the vitriol and hateful rhetoric others may target towards him.

Recognize Pete in that description? Yeah, me too.

Pete is an unafraid, morally uncompromised truth-teller, motivated and impassioned by the prospect of progress — while knowing that doing so may risk achieving consensus. Consider the following: Pete advocates for both the expungement of the Electoral College as well as a review of the number of justices appointed to the Supreme Court. These concept positions have met with some push-back; even by his staunchest supporters. While Pete promotes these ideas at his campaign stops, he does something more. He solicits feedback, listens, considers and refines — and then emerges undeterred in the re-articulation of his position, even though it might displease some. It is what a man of integrity would do. It’s what a self-differentiated leader does.

An autocrat, by contrast is not a self-differentiated leader. (I bring this up for fairly obvious reasons. Forty-five of them to be precise.) Rather, an autocrat believes that being a leader necessitates taking control of others. An autocrat is the converse of a self-differentiated leader. An autocrat does not take responsibility for either his own actions or the consequences of those actions. Instead, the autocrat paints himself as a victim and places blame on others. Recognize anyone in that description? Yeah. Me too.

Pete chooses the high road — as always. That’s because he’s willing to do the hard, and often painful work the high road requires. Pete is striving for his vision of a reinvigorated democracy that he believes he is qualified to deliver. That is neither arrogance nor ego. It is the pursuit of a clear-eyed self-differentiated leader. He has mastered the imperative of seeing the attainment of his vision in the workings of his brilliant imagination, because an intact American democracy is impossible to see at present — especially with eyes wide open.

Pete’s stoicism in the face of painful personal attacks and blame-laying is stunning. There will be more such attacks. More pain. Pete knows this. And he’s ready. Pete believes that this democracy — so bloodied these few years by an aspiring autocratic administration — needs far more than relief from the “symptoms” of autocracy. He knows that restoration of health and vibrancy for our democracy will only come about with fundamental change. And that’s why Pete forges forward as the strong self-differentiated leader he is. He’s doing it by setting forth policies and positions that will refortify the increasingly porous foundations of this flailing democracy. I’m all in for Pete. And for America. #PETEFORAMERICA #20PETE20

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