#NewYorkTimes reporter #TripGabriel recently wrote yet another article critical of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s handling of the racial tensions in South Bend and the lack of diversity in the city’s police force. Missing from Gabriel’s reporting is a recounting — or even a mention — of Pete’s manifold qualifications and readiness to become our next President.

Trip, I hope this parable reaches your eyes…and perhaps your soul as well. It’s quite possible that you will recognize yourself — and others of your ilk — as the tale unfolds.


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Once there was a small tree that began to grow in America. At first, it seemed much like any other tree, with a sturdy trunk fringed with branches and healthy buds eager to burst into life.

But steadily, as it grew, the tree began to take on astonishing qualities. The blossoms that sprouted from its myriad branches seemed not to be like one another at all. Instead, they were of varying shapes, sizes and colors. They took on extraordinary attributes all their own. It seemed as though goodness itself had taken root.

Soon, the bounty of fragrant aromas that each of the tree’s blossoms emitted were dispatched upon breezes that blew gently — yet floated widely — in all directions. As the perfume of each blossom began to reach and penetrate the senses of thousands of fatigued citizen perennials throughout the country, many came awake with a start — as if from a prolonged nightmare. You see, they had been plagued for nearly three years by the relentless stench of rot deposited throughout the land by a menacing tree that had lied to them about why he should become the “Tree-in-Charge”. The menacing tree convinced the citizen perennials to empanel him…and they did.

The menacing tree began to call itself the “King Tree” as it spilled its putrid, toxic sap in an ongoing campaign for even more power and omniscience. Saplings, sprouts, small plots of plants that didn’t look like other plants, and even the sweet earth itself were especially subject to its ravages.

But now, with reawakened senses, curiosities about the origin of the extraordinary essences they were experiencing drew the perennials to the most uncommon tree. There it stood, brilliantly reflecting the sunlight like no other within the grove of other trees eager to end the menacing tree’s reign of enmity by standing in the next national contest for “Tree-in-Charge.”

Sitting under the uncommon tree’s welcoming and protective canopy, the perennials heard the notes of hopeful new music being written by the sounds of the tree’s own rustlings…and by the joyful whistling of the wind wafting over and around its colorful leaves. The lyrics spoke of a new era defined by all of the noble, righteous, compassionate and just attributes expressed upon the tree’s leaves, blooms and branches.

As they listened, they gazed at the tree’s immeasurable beauty, which was interrupted only by a single imperfection on one of the branches. The worried perennials gathered to consider the imperfection, and soon learned that the uncommon tree itself had also been concerned, distressed that it may have undervalued the impact of the branch on the others. The uncommon tree began to steadily feed it more of the reparative nourishment it needed to flourish and bloom just like the tree’s other branches. The perennials were hopeful and content. The sounds and the sights of this perfectly imperfect tree came to rest in their hearts, and they became resolved to tell their fellow citizen perennials all about what they called, “The Buttiful Tree.”

One day, a prickly pear that came to live in the grove was tumbling from tree to tree, using a megaphone to describe to the citizen perennials the virtues and drawbacks of each one. On this day, as it had before, the prickly pear tumbled its way towards The Buttiful Tree, and prepared to speak again to the perennials about what he saw. But this prickly pear didn’t really see the whole tree. It never did. Oddly, it only wished to focus on the flawed branch and testify to that alone.

Soon, the perennials came to realize why the blemished branch could not be healed. They learned that nightly, the prickly pear would jab the imperfect branch with its sturdiest thorns, so that despite the reparative nourishment it received everyday, the branch could not recover its robust appearance.

The Buttiful Tree knew that the prickly pear’s preoccupation with keeping the flawed branch sickly was its way of ensuring that the perennials would elect a “Tree-in-Charge” from among the other trees in the grove — trees the prickly pear much preferred.

But The Buttiful Tree did not wilt. Its mighty roots were too well-grounded. Instead, it tapped its overflowing well of wisdom to issue its response and charge. “I am standing in this contest because I have a set of skills that I will deploy to clear the mounds of refuse generated by the malicious edicts of the menace,” said The Buttiful Tree. “Then we will walk together in the direction of our shared dreams, caring for one another to generate the lives of opportunity, freedom, safety, and belonging we need…we desire…and we deserve. Please, come along.”

Not surprisingly, the pilgrimage of perennials marching to rest under The Buttiful Tree grew without end…its plumage of leaves swelling to provide ample shelter for all. #20PETE20

Written by

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

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