One of the most magical things about the Obama Presidency was not just the remarkably kind and cerebral man himself, but also the bonus of having his equally as remarkable spouse, Michelle Obama serve as our nation’s First Lady. She’s educated, funny, attractive, stylish, and she could hold her own as a force to be reckoned with, moving beyond the shadow of her famous presidential husband. Jackie Kennedy set the standard for those attributes and Michelle followed in similar style and substance.
There were other notably First Ladies of course, among them Eleanor Roosevelt Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Nancy Reagan. However, Michelle and Jackie transcended into pop culture iconography.
First Ladies throughout history have had a powerful impact on society independent of their husbands. Now with the emergence of openly gay and married presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the question must not only be asked – is America ready for its first openly gay president, but also, is America ready for that candidate’s husband as potentially the first, First Man in United States history?
That potential First Man, has a name – Chasten Buttigieg, and he’s quickly becoming one of the rising stars of the upcoming 2020 election. Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has been on the campaign trail in recent weeks, being the out and proud candidate he has every right to be. His shared stories of commonality are registering with American voters, and he beams when he speaks of husband Chasten Buttigieg, a Junior high school teacher known for kindness but also a sharp, sarcastic wit that is quickly turning him into one of the most followed people on social media.
Already popular with his students, now Chasten has emerged on the world stage with growing popularity as the unlikely media darling of the campaign. The Huffington Post reported last weekend, “Speaking at a Human Rights Campaign gala in Houston, the junior high school teacher called his marriage “the adventure of a lifetime,” noting how much his life has changed in the weeks since his husband ― the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana ― announced his presidential campaign January.
He further explained to Huffpo the public’s interest in his every move, “I now live in a world where people take photos of me in the deodorant aisle at the grocery store,” Buttigieg said. “But it is not lost on me that I was able to marry the man I love by the grace of one Supreme Court vote.”
And with that comment, Chasten’s sharp political savvy was revealed. This is why he is regarded as Peter Buttigieg “secret weapon.” He can understand that he and his husband are an anomaly to the United States political landscape, but he does not allow it to be perceived as a fluke or novelty. Invoking the supreme court decision to let gay people marry, Chasten expresses the joy and love any heterosexual person could openly show their partner but all the while reminding us that a difference of one vote by the Supreme Court tipped the scale in our favor. That is what gave us marriage quality and Chasten reaffirms that we must not take such close victories for granted.
Chasten is emerging as perhaps the most intriguing spouse of a presidential candidate in the race thus far, with comparisons already being made to Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama – two iconic “secret weapons” in their own right.
Proudly boasting about his husband’s dedication to inclusion, Chasten expresses to the Human Right’s Gala crowd, “We need someone in the White House who will sign the Equality Act into law, and luckily I know a guy,” he said. “Peter is ready to serve our country in the highest office, and just as importantly, I think America is ready for him.”
As far as I can see it, America is also ready for the fabulous Chasten, who broke from policy issues while addressing the crowd to excitedly joke “never underestimate what can happen when you agree to go on a date with a cute guy from South Bend, Indiana … I could be the first man in history to pick out the White House china.”
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.