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Mon Jun 10, 2019, 09:36 AM


Pete Buttigieg speech at the Iowa Hall of Fame Dinner

My name is Pete Buttigieg. They mostly just call me ďMayor PeteĒ back home. Iím here to tell you who I am, what I believe, and why Iím doing this.


Weíre doing this because our values are on the line and this season in the life of Americanís political development is one to end the idea that American values are property of conservatives and Republicans. Starting with freedom. Freedom is not a conservative value, it is an American value. And while our Republican friends like to talk about freedom like itís theirs alone, we know that freedom includes economic freedom and youíre not free if you donít have a living wage in this country.

The GOP has sacrificed its ability to claim to be the party of freedom, especially when we see an attack on womenís reproductive freedom that all of us, especially men ought to be standing up to defend. And yes, here in Iowa where you turned heads around the nation ten years ago, we know that you are not free if some county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry based on their idea of their religion.

We know that freedom has come by way of organizing, thatís why we stand shoulder to shoulder with labor. And we know that freedom comes by way of education, which is why on day one the new president needs to appoint a Secretary of Education who actually believes in public education.

Freedom doesnít belong to the Republican Party, and neither does patriotism. When I got on that gray tail C-17 to take me that took me to Afghanistan on the orders of an American President, the flag on my shoulder was not a Republican flag, it was an American flag representing belonging for all of us in the republic for which it stands.

So donít let anybody tell you that they own national security -- not when their vision of security goes no further than putting up a wall from sea to shining sea. Because that is not going to help with cybersecurity. That is not going to help with election security. That is not going to help us name and confront the violent white nationalism that presents a clear and present threat to our country.

I donít have to tell Cedar Rapids that the time has come to treat climate disruption as the security issue that it is. Which is why we should not only rejoin the Paris Accords, we ought to have a Pittsburgh summit to bring together American cities and communities to do something about the issue with federal support.

Freedom is not a conservative value, patriotism is not a conservative-only value, and God does not belong to any political party, least of all the one that produced this current president. Now weíve got a lot of work to do to vindicate our values, to establish a true democracy where money canít out-vote people and politicians canít choose their voters by drawing districts the way they like. A democracy where all U.S. citizens, including those of D.C. and Puerto Rico enjoy proper political representation in our capital. And maybe even in this greatest democracy in the world we might go about choosing our president by giving it to the person that got the most votes.

Now I think weíre all more or less of one accord on our values, so the biggest question is, how are we going to win? And weíre not going to win by playing it safe or by promising a return to normal. We are where we are because normal broke. And we Democrats can no more promise a return to the Ď90s than Republicans can deliver on a promise to return us to the Ď50s. The only thing we can do is to look at that show that this presidentís created, whatever you want to call it, reality show, horror show, game show, and weíre going to change the channel to something completely different. Help me change the channel. Help us win the era. Help us bring about a new era in the life of this country, and we will be glad that it started right here in Iowa. Thank you and Iíll see you on the trail.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Pete Buttigieg

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