Mandy Moore Blessed Me
On Jan. 14 in the Olmsted Center at Drake University, a large group of both students and community members gathered to listen to two individuals speak about why Mayor Pete Buttigieg should be President of the United States. The two speakers were Chasten Buttigieg, Mayor Pete’s husband, and famous actress, Mandy Moore. There were about 40 individuals in this intimate setting, eager to hear what they both had to say.
What was so unique about this event was that the candidate himself was never there, yet a lot of people showed up to listen. They did not talk about policy or funding, just about the mayor’s characteristics and why he would be a good president. Chasten also mentioned his role in what education would look like from a Buttigieg administration.
It began with the president of the Mayor Pete student organization on campus, Emilyn Crabbe, introducing Chasten and Mandy. Before the actual event began, Chasten and Mandy cracked jokes about how walking out from the elevator was “such an entrance” and how incredible Griff, the live mascot, is. The tone of the event was much more casual than most political events. It felt as though we were all having a conversation with the two of them, even though Emilyn was the only one to ask questions.
In the audience, there were clusters of precinct captains for Mayor Pete, which was apparent due to the gigantic yellow buttons they wore. Chasten’s mother and aunt, as well as Mayor Pete’s mother, were also in attendance. They were referenced a few times throughout the event.
The most touching part of this experience was when Chasten shared with the audience his coming out story. He discussed how he felt so alone and angry with himself, and if he did choose to come out, that no one would accept him for who he was. The audience felt this pain, for a large portion of the audience identified with the LGBTQ+ community. He spoke about how unimaginable it must have been for his husband to serve his nation under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It was so deeply received and felt by those watching, most of which cried.
The moment that I will remember for the longest was when Mandy Moore blessed me. I sneezed at some point during the event, to which Mandy Moore said, “Bless you.” I teared up immediately and lost my breath. Later, when I was taking my picture with her, I shared that I used to watch Tangled several times in a row as a middle schooler. She honestly did not really know what to say.