In June 2016, my father and I attended a political rally for a presidential candidate passing through my hometown. I loathed the candidate, and I loathed almost every second of the rally. His policy proposals were absurd, his logic flawed, and his rhetoric inflammatory.
The candidate was none other than President Donald J. Trump.
I knew before I attended the rally that I was unlikely to find anything I could agree with in his speech. But I went anyway. I wanted to hear what he had to say without a third party between us and no chance for media bias.
Now, another presidential election is upon us, and my hopes are high that Hillsdale will, like it has in the past, become rich with thoughtful political discussion and spirited debates. I especially hope that we will take the time to consider, not just the views of Donald Trump and his intra-party challengers, but the views of the Democratic candidates as well.
There is no better way to do this than to invite Democratic candidates to speak on our campus.
One of the most promising Democratic candidates, and one that Hillsdale students could benefit from hearing, is Pete Buttigieg.
Popularly known as “Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg is a Rhodes Scholar and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is a decorated veteran of the United States Navy, and much of his platform is influenced by a deep devotion to his country, and his firm and outspoken Christian faith.
“The divine comes to earth…in a servant mode,” Buttigieg said in an interview with CNN. This belief inspired Buttigieg to pursue local office, where he effectively reversed the decline of South Bend.
Under his leadership the economy grew, poverty and crime levels dropped, and a thousand unlivable homes were torn down, leaving room for new urban growth.
Faith-centered leadership is a goal to which many Hillsdale students aspire, and hearing the story of a man who has achieved that goal can only be beneficial. The spiritual life at Hillsdale is powerful and inspiring, and inviting Buttigieg to speak on our campus would be an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the way that faith influences the lives and careers of Christians on both sides of the aisle.
Buttigieg shares Hillsdale College’s devotion to freedom. While campaigning for Barack Obama in 2007, Buttigieg met veterans and young recruits and decided to take his place alongside them in the Navy Reserves.
In 2014, he served in Afghanistan in the midst of his first term as South Bend mayor. He drives home the importance of protecting freedom in his campaign platform, emphasizing that threats come “not just from government,” but from corporations and other social and economic conditions.
This perspective is vital for Hillsdale College, as it causes us to ponder what freedom really means, and whether government is its only threat in the modern era.
It is not political membership or a specific religion that unites the students of this school. Instead, it’s the shared belief in the school’s motto: Pursuing truth, defending liberty.
No political party has a monopoly on truth; therefore, it is our responsibility to advocate that a range of views be represented from the speakers who visit our campus.