I first heard about Pete Buttigieg a couple of years ago when he was re-elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana. I know, I know, why should I care about South Bend … or Indiana, but then Pete Buttigieg made it more interesting — see that post HERE.
So, let’s begin by dishing on Pete Buttigieg; he has a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard so he’s kinda smart, right? He was a Rhodes Scholar so that means something, doesn’t it? He’s also served his country by being a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and, for seven months in 2014, he was deployed to Afghanistan; something few of our elected officials, including some presidents, haven’t done.
Oh, and in order to serve his country in Afghanistan he took a leave of absence from his job as mayor … an unpaid leave of absence.
He worked for two years as a consultant with McKinsey where, he says, keeping his eye on the goal of a political career, he could learn how money moves and how data is mined most effectively. He speaks Arabic; that oughta come in handy. He’s an accomplished musician who played piano with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra in 2013 for a special performance of “Rhapsody in Blue”?
He won the JFK. New Frontier Award, given annually to a few Americans under 40 whose commitment to public service is changing the country.
Oh, and he came out as a gay man, while running for a second term as mayor of South Bend, and handily won reelection with 80% of the vote … more than he won by the first time around.
Yup, he’s gay, but what happens when the gay Democrat — or, as I prefer to think of him, the Democrat who is gay — opts to run for higher office? Could Pete Buttigieg one day become America’s first gay president?
Sure, we’ve had a few openly gay and lesbian candidates run for Congress, and Oregon’s governor is a bisexual, but could a gay man, or heck, a gay woman, ever become president?
Pete Buttigieg, I think, from what I’ve read, doesn’t want to be the first gay president, but he might wanna be the first present who is openly gay; and that distinction, though subtle, is a distinction.
Buttigieg has not, since his coming out op-ed, spoken much about being gay, but he also didn’t pull the closet door closed again either. His partner, Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, moved in with Buttigieg this year and sometimes accompanies him to public events.
Still, Pete Buttigieg might have a tough road ahead of him, as evidenced by an innocuous event that took place recently. See, one day he stopped in at Glezman’s school to bring his partner a coffee, and that night he received a very angry email about children and The Gays and The Gay Agenda. Buttigieg wrote back saying what he did was no different than what a straight person would do:
“I didn’t go in there to discuss LGBT issues. I went in there to bring a cup of coffee to somebody that I love. But it was one of those moments when I realized we can’t quite go around as if it were the same.”
Not yet, anyway, though one day, and hopefully one day soon, maybe after Hillary’s eight years in the Oval, followed by Michelle’s eight years, we could have Pete Buttigieg in the White House … having Starbucks with his partner.