Why Pete — This Film’s Nice Guy — Should Finish First

This is the desired ending to a movie that quickens the breath, dampens the palms, and upon exhale at the end, settles serenely into the heart.

Yep, it’s the one where the nice guy finishes first.

Indeed, Pete is the nice guy in this picture. But let’s take care not to equate “nice” with “gutless” or “spineless”. Let’s just call it what it is: “Greatness”. Brilliant, empathic, humble, bold, truthful, brave greatness. Nice.

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2020 Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg

Through the credits have yet to roll on this film (Team Pete supporters will see their names rising on the scroll), swelling audiences watching this true story reveal itself in real time report that what they’ve seen is unlike anything they’ve ever witnessed before. They are watching a most uncommon Presidential candidate — one that does not fit neatly (or at all) into a pre-cast character mold. He’s not the new super-hero. That’s fantasy. He’s the super-Presidential candidate. That’s real.

Pete is a most unlikely protagonist in this political thriller. Though obscure — even completely unknown — in name, ideology and suitability as the story began, the high-minded principles with which his character is imbued seems out of step as a competitor in an arena known for its vitriolic, claws-out encounters. Pete’s closely held values are infused into his always honorable rules of play. When Pete has been in serious policy conflicts with others—especially those vying to become the Democratic nominee— he answers with bold, firm, cogent restatements of his positions, and why he believes his policies would benefit and uplift more Americans. His big ideas for the betterment of American life for all have become his “weapons” of choice. No name-calling. No belittling. No revenge-tweeting. No behind-the-curtain scheming or dispatching of minions to engage in some political shenanigans on his behalf. Just factual, truthful, courageous, comforting policies and words of hope from a profoundly knowledgeable and compassionate source. Pete.

It is not surprising to notice audiences leaning in to hear every word in every fast-changing scene. This demeanor suggests that Americans are feeling increasingly welcomed, valued, confident, and secure as they enter Pete’s orbit. For many, these have become unfamiliar — yet contenting — sensations when thinking about the current national condition. It is, in effect, a preview of what the nation will experience in the many sequels to come.

And finally, if there is one lesson to be extracted from the projection playing out on the screen, it is this: It is possible to live your life according to your own moral code without compromise— and without exception. Pete has done this in the most publicly ruthless pursuit in the world with dignity, courage, honor and truth. He does not retreat from political confrontation, conflict or even the depraved slurs slung against him —which, as we see, are born mostly out of fear of Pete’s unstoppability and his courage to be altogether authentic about who he is. Instead, Pete takes up the challenges that threaten to block his path, holding them at bay until they wither — felled by Pete’s nimble use of ethical reason, incontrovertible facts, and dauntless virtuosity.

He is the nice guy who, if I and millions of others have our way, will finish first — at last. Roll those incredible credits. #NiceGuyPete

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