Pete is Altogether Unafraid of the Schoolyard Bully In the Oval Office

I love Pete Buttigieg for ten thousand different reasons. Of that I have made no secret. But in this pivotal, critical moment in our nation’s history, I love him most for this: Pete is the anti-bully candidate. And that’s just what we need — NOW.

Trump is a cowardly bully drunk with power who believes he holds the keys to a kingdom that is his and will never lose his grip on power. That he has demonstrably abused his power over and over again makes him more akin to the world’s dictators he so envies; and nothing at all like the overwhelming majority of his predecessors, Republican and Democratic, whose efforts to protect American democracy above all else punctuated their terms in office.

If the Senate acquits Trump in his impeachment trial, and he sees that he can abuse his power with impunity, a dictator will have been newly impaneled — unless he is defeated in the November, 2020 election.

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Enter Mayor Pete. From the beginning, Pete told us the high-minded reasons why he was running for President. One of them was to unseat a bully. And that’s the task in the 2020 election. Pete can do it. Pete WILL do it. Yes, the polls show that Pete can best Trump in the general election. But he’s already shown us that he can.

In one of his early rallies, an 11-year-old girl asked Pete what advice he would give her in dealing with a bully who was making her life quite difficult. He told her that bullies have “something a little broken in them”; and that “sometimes you just want to give it right back. But you have control. You have control over whether that bully makes you into a worse version of yourself or a better version of yourself.” Pete has control, and is showing us the best version of any candidate in this race.

Pete is well-prepared for the political minefield ahead. But he is unafraid because knows just where to step, but more importantly, he knows HOW to step. Trump has amassed a base of followers who will nod in tacit agreement to his every move. When Trump singled out four Democratic Congresswomen of color earlier this year and told them to “go back to where you came from”, his base applauded in delight. When he derided Mexicans as criminals and rapists, issued a ban on Muslims coming into the U.S. because they were mostly “terrorists”, and cracked down on immigrants and asylum seekers by ripping their children from their arms, separating the families and throwing the children in cages, he got high-fives from his supporters. And when he contrives childish nicknames typically heard on playgrounds for his political rivals, (“Little Marco”, “Lyin’ Ted”, “Shifty Schiff”, “Nervous Nancy”, “Sleepy Joe”), he hopes they serve as warnings to others who might rise to challenge his authority and power.

“Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word — fear,” Trump once told a reporter. Fear, of course, is what dictators and demagogues use to control their populaces. Fear is what he is using now to keep many Republican senators from voicing their outrage (likely suppressed ) for his criminal, unconstitutional behavior that rises…indeed, overflows…to the level of impeachment. Contained within these lawmakers’ souls are their mournful cries for the dying values upon which this country once stood. They could stand from their seats to oppose him, but abject fear of Trump has rendered their legs useless.

Pete, however, is altogether unafraid of Trump. 100% gutsy and 100% bold, Pete speaks fearlessly — calling Trump out on his lies (of which thousands have now been documented), and putting forth statements of fact to stand strongly on their indisputable merit as an adult alternative to engaging in arguments with the vapid schoolyard bully.

Pete doesn’t tremble at the knowledge that Trump attempts to bully anyone that disagrees with him — which Pete does on virtually everything including racism, climate change, healthcare, foreign policy, women’s rights, Social Security, the economy, gun control, education, criminal justice reform, inclusion and more. Pete’s response to his name-calling and belittling is a non-response to it. (Trump has called Pete “Howdy Doody” and “Alfred E. Newman”.) He ignores it and lets the bully’s own words hang in shame in the silent air. Pete will play it his way instead — offering cogent articulations of his well-nuanced and knowledgeably crafted policy plans — a triumphant strategy on a debate stage (especially when 45 has yet to write a single policy plan.)

Pete has been a target of bullying — both when he was younger and even today, as a top tier presidential candidate who is openly gay. Sure, sometimes, words hurt, he says. Anyone who’s every been bullied knows that. But Pete is no victim anymore. He’s a powerful, courageous soldier who knows how to stand like steel against hate. Instead, as his husband Chasten has said, Pete chooses to “let hate sit alone.” Bullying works on some — not on Pete. Bullying is a power play for domination. But it won’t work against Pete. Not on the debate stage and not in this election.

Since the “election” of 45, our nation has devolved into a country where citizens are at war with one another…emboldened by the hateful words and actions of the bully in the White House. And today, Republican senators are at war with their own consciences, wanting to do what is right but overwhelmed by fear that if they challenge Trump in this impeachment trial, then Trump will use his bully pulpit to destroy them politically — effectively snuffing out their careers.

Pete has been called the anti-Trump candidate. He is. But more than that, he is the anti-bully candidate. Where Trump uses a strong arm, Pete uses strength of character. Where Trump’s volatile temper triggers his impulse to act without a thought to the consequences, Pete’s only thought is about consequences. Where Trump’s only interest is that which benefits him, Pete’s only interest is that which benefits he nation, its citizens, the planet and all of humanity.

We have one chance to get this right, America. One chance to elect Pete — the one candidate with enough brilliance, judgement, selflessness, bravery and grit to rescue this nation from the death of democracy at the hands of a dangerous schoolyard bully…and would-be dictator. #impeach

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Cincinnati, Ohio-based writer, visual storyteller, PR Specialist and Telly and Emmy Award winning video and documentary producer.

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