RYAN REEBENACKER, STAFF WRITER
While on the campaign trail across Iowa last weekend, democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg hosted a campaign event in the Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High School cafeteria. Waverly citizens assembled to
engage with the mayor of South Bend, Indiana as the Iowa caucuses loom.
Instead of beginning the rally with his own policies and principles, Buttigieg instead opted to implore those in attendance to vote in the upcoming Waverly mayoral election taking place today.
“We can’t ever get caught treating the presidency like it’s the only office that matters,” Buttigieg said. “These local races are extremely important and I hope you know that, and I hope you use your voice to get out and vote on Tuesday.”
In the opening remarks of the rally, Buttigieg explained the brand of patriotism he believes must unite Americans.
“I’m not talking about the kind of cheap nationalism that literally hugs the flag,” Buttigieg said. “Or throws a military parade for the ego of the president. I’m talking about the kind of patriotism that is rooted in the idea that loving this country means loving the country’s people, and you can’t love the country if you hate half of the people in it.”
I’m talking about the kind of patriotism that is rooted in the idea that loving this country means loving the country’s people, and you can’t love the country if you hate half of the people in it.— Pete Buttigieg, Democratic Presidential candidate
Buttigieg discussed an issue on the minds of many voters in the upcoming election, Medicare for all. Buttigieg believed he has seen radical ideas from both sides, but he believed the best solution lies somewhere in the middle.
“In over 50 years, we haven’t had a chance to do something this big,” Buttigieg said. “We can deliver Medicare for all who want it. That last bit is really important because what I’m proposing is we take Medicare and make it available for everyone to get on it if you want to, but I’m not going to order you to take our plan.”
An attendee to the rally pointed out the current tense political divide in the U.S., and Buttigieg continued to sell himself as a candidate that can unite some in the republican party with his democratic values.
“Let’s take this into perspective of the climate crisis,” Buttigieg said. “One thing that really matters in our plan is that it also focuses on inviting people who feel like they are on the outside of the climate conversation. I’m talking about farmers, an issue very important right here in Iowa.” Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night came when Buttigieg fielded a question from a sixth-grader in the audience, who was the lone attendee to ask him about his stance on gun control.
“Sixth grade,” Buttigieg said as he looked out to the crowd. “And she wants to know about gun safety. I can remember what I was worried about in sixth grade, and it was not life or death in my own school building.”
Buttigieg’s interaction with the sixth-grade attendee seemed to stick in his mind, as he capped off the rally with his own personal call to action.
“A few years from now, I hope to be able to look at the sixth grader who asked me a question about how we’re planning to keep her physically safe, and apologize but say ‘look what we were able to do in 2020’ so that when you run for office you won’t have to worry about these things, because they’ll have finally been taken care of.”