Saturday, October 19, 2019

Pete Buttigieg's tragedy

Living as I do in a land that sometimes feels awash in self-satisfied sensitivities, it was a pleasure the other day to catch a TV snippet in which Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (how does he pronounce that name?), mayor of South Bend, Ind., responded to an interviewer whose sensitivities appeared to be over the top.

Sure, he worried about the trashmasher a gay man might face in a presidential race, but he also took time to care for others. "I grew up gay in Indiana," he said more or less. "I can take care of myself." But he worried for those (like his husband perhaps) who might be caught in the political blowback.

Buttigieg said no more about it, but his words lingered in my mind. This was a person of substance on my radar, a man who might be willing to say, "If I want you in my bedroom, I'll invite you." He doesn't say it but he doesn't back away from the issue either. Eyewash "transparency" and "caring" and "empathy" and "democracy" and "freedom" and unexamined "socialism" (yoo-hoo... Jesus was a socialist) could all take a hike where the issues of the day meant trouble for the country.

People get ignored. People get hurt. That's people!

Ignorance is no excuse.

Hurting afflicts one and all.

That's people, people.

Buttigieg will probably slide off the Democrat roster of those alleging they want to be president. But for the moment, I like the cut of an intelligent man's jib. Buttigieg's Texas-Hold-'Em delivery and presentation and intelligence appeals to me....

But no one cares much, I suppose. Donald Trump is busy getting impeached of late and the airwaves are full of the moment-to-moment revelations on that score.

In the long-ago-and-far-away, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, widow of solo pilot Charles Lindbergh, was asked in a TV interview how it felt to have her toddler son kidnapped in 1932. The interviewer had to ask the question. And Lindbergh, if I had to guess, knew it was coming. There was a long pause after the question was asked. And then Lindbergh responded

"I think everyone has suffered a tragedy."

And ain't that the truth? Everyone has suffered a tragedy and everyone has to move on. Homosexual, heterosexual, sensitive and insensitive alike -- everyone has suffered a tragedy, no matter how grievous the wails.

Pete Buttigieg struck me as having a handle on his own scrapes and bruises. Who knows if he has actually risen above the pains he may have suffered? But whether he has or hasn't, his candidacy does not seem to be laced with any smug whining.

There is serious stuff at hand. The earth is not flat. I am not the center of the universe. Idealism turns invariably towards dictatorship when given half a chance. Can it be avoided? Probably not.

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