It is staggeringly egomaniacal for anyone to think of themselves this way, but Beto’s defenders may point out that this is the sort of grandiose narcissism that is required of anyone for them to want to run for president. Fair enough. What is perhaps more telling is that Beto’s sense of being a fated, chosen hero has been and visibly enabled by his whiteness and his maleness. The only way you can think of yourself like this—as in league with every hero from Odesseus to Christ to Luke Skywalker—is if every hero in every story you have ever heard has been a white guy, like you.
In the logic of the hero stories of which Beto is so fond, these mythic great men with great destinies are always, well, male. Women are seen not as heroes but as accessories, obstacles or support staff, They are there to delay and test the hero, like the Sirens, or to help him on his way, like Athena. They are not protagonists in their own right, but minor plot points in men’s great adventures.
After his announcement, Beto made a weak little joke about what his wife, Amy, has taken on for the sake of his political ambitions. “She is raising, sometimes with my help,” their three children, he said. The remark was supposed to be self-deprecating, but it underscored the phenomenal maleness of Beto’s vision, and resonated bitterly with many women who find themselves doing a drastically unequal share of housework and childcare.