In my previous post, I addressed objections that are often brought up as barriers to supporting Buttigieg in the primary. I am embarrassed to say that I forgot one of the most important ones.
Buttigieg is not a person of color or a woman.
My own journey as a Feminist Buttigieg supporter
I can’t say that this is not a valid objection, because it is well past time in this country that we have a female President. I’ve struggled myself to come to terms with being a feminist and a Buttigieg supporter, with well-qualified women running in this race.
For me, I had to really take a look at the things that were important to me in our next President – and make sure that the things that Buttigieg brings to the table are more than enough to outweigh the advantages of supporting a female candidate. I had to know that even if I overcorrect and give female candidates an edge, Buttigieg would still come out on top in my evaluation.
What Buttigieg must do to earn my continued faith
It has also been vitally important to me that any male candidate that has my support is more than just “not a misogynist”. A male candidate winning the Democratic primary damn well better be prepared to be a Feminist and an active advocate of the rights of women and an active partner in understanding and solving for the challenges facing women. That includes all of the intersectional groups, such as women of color, trans women, trans women of color, single mothers, and more.
To this point, I do not think there is any male candidate that comes close to Buttigieg on these issues*. It’s not just the issues that he focuses attention on – addressing the challenges of trans women of color, the maternal mortality rate of black mothers, and the absolute necessity of a woman’s right to control her own body and healthcare. It is also the little things, like deliberately and consistently using the phrases “she or he”, “woman or man”, “hers or his” – putting women first in all of the simple, everyday ways that women have always been put second.
Buttigieg has also specifically acknowledged that if a male candidate – particularly a white male candidate – should win the Democratic nomination, he must be committed to an administration that is genuinely diverse, with women and persons of color in all levels of the administration.
It’s what he hasn’t done that has also earned my faith
In addition to the things that Buttigieg needs to keep doing, it is also what he hasn’t done that has earned my trust. While being an openly gay man could be used as the diversity card to get out of tough conversations about privilege, he has refused to play that game. He may acknowledge that being gay is still a challenge in the world we live in. He talks about his ability to stand up to bullies, such as our current President, as a result of being used to homophobic attacks. But he never uses the fact that he’s gay as “proof” that he understands the challenges of other marginalized groups.
Did I forget any other objections? I can’t believe that I forgot this one in my original post. Thankfully, Pete brought it up himself in his HRC speech tonight.
* Updated 5/19/19 – When I originally wrote this, I felt like Buttigieg was doing the most among male candidates to talk about issues facing women. In fairness, I may have just been paying more attention to him – and certainly given the recent abortion bans in several states, more male candidates have been really explicit about their perspective. I have been impressed, specifically, with Cory Booker on these issues – and again, I suspect that my original dismissal of him here was due to simply not paying enough attention.