Photo of Pete Buttigieg

Address to the Democratic National Convention

August 20, 2020

Good evening. Beau Biden lived a life of service, in office and in uniform. When you put your life on the line for your country—especially this country—you do it not because it's a country you live in, but because it's a country you believe in.

I believe in this country because America, uniquely, holds the promise of a place where everyone can belong. We know that for too many and for too long, that promise has gone unrealized. But we also know America has been at its best whenever we make that circle of belonging wider.

For me, it's personal. Just over 10 years ago, I joined a military where firing me because of who I am wasn't just possible—it was policy. Now in 2020, it is unlawful in America to fire anyone because of who they are or who they love. The very ring on my finger reflects how this country can change. Love makes my marriage real, but political courage made it possible—including that of Joe Biden, who stepped out ahead of even this party when he said that marriage equality should be the law of the land.

If so much can change between 2010 and 2020, imagine what 2030 could look like. Imagine what we could achieve—the coalition we are building this very season, gathering progressives and moderates, independents and even "former Republicans," to help build a future where everyone belongs.

It starts here—with the choices we are going to make in just a few weeks. Decisions not just about who will lead us, but about who we are.

Joe Biden is right: this is a contest for the soul of the nation. And to me, that contest is not between good Americans and evil Americans. It's the struggle to call out what is good—what is best—in every American.

Every American must now decide. Can America be a place where faith is about healing and not exclusion? Can we become a country that lives up to the truth that Black Lives Matter? Will we handle questions of science and medicine by turning to scientists and doctors? What will we do to make America into a land where no one who works full time can live in poverty?

I trust Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to guide this nation toward that better future, because I have seen their commitment, and their empathy, up close. And I trust the capacity of America to grow more inclusive, because I have lived it.

The day I was born, close to where I'm standing, here in South Bend, the idea of an "out" candidate seeking any federal office at all was laughable. Yet earlier this year I campaigned for the presidency, often with my husband at my side, winning delegates to this very convention.

Now, I proudly support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In doing so I am joining fellow Democrats who were squaring off in competition just a few months ago. A number of us recently got together to talk about the Joe we know.

Pete Buttigieg, Address to the Democratic National Convention Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project