Wonderfully nuanced and insightful analysis of the Buttigieg dilemma.
Some LGBTQ thinkers I know, btw, have been asking themselves recently if his failure to see the Black community runs somehow parallel to his seeming inability to see why people question his support for the Salvation Army, even after he came out.
We ask, how sincere is this man? How much does he really understand about privilege and patriarchy? Is he informed and thoughtful enough to make a good president or to make the kind of president we want in the White House?
Clearly, for me as a white gay man, I can be confident that Mayor Pete would at least do nothing to hurt me, not in the areas where our lives intersect. I’m ALSO a former military intel officer, and I can ALSO walk on the street and within the corridors of corporate, patriarchal America with the equivilent of a high school hall pass.
And nobody ever told ME to shut up at the Chelsea Gym or the McBurney YMCA back when I used to do gay steam rooms.
But can Buttigieg do BETTER than that? Can he work toward a better world for people who don’t share his (and my) privilege? I don’t know. I don’t have a good sense of how thoughtful he is or how empathetic he is. What little I’ve seen troubles me, how much might depend on the day and my mood.
I spend too much time surrounded by the unthinking privilege of gay white men who don’t get intersectionality. I get too exhausted sometimes trying to stay positive while working for genuine change. On days when fatigue sets off the kind of trembling anger your friend must have seen in you in the sauna, Buttigieg is the last person on Earth I want to see as president.
But in calmer moments, I acknowledge that progress is always uneven and usually driven by deeply flawed people.
A dilemma, indeed.