TLDR: Check out this guy running for president: Yang2020.com No matter your political orientation, this man has ideas and solutions worthy of your time!
Let me start off by saying that this position is super awkward for me. Talking, and arguing about politics is partially in my blood as a man who grew up in Hungary. While I understand that politics engulfs every aspect of our day-to-day lives, I simultaneously hate talking about it, because these days especially there seems to be no political discourse that does not invoke hostility and hatred in all participating. Especially as someone living in Hungary, politics depresses me. I will spare you the details: know just that with every passing day the situation appears to be getting ever more hopeless and ever more depressing. So for the most part, I do my best to repress my cultural desire to politicize, and take special care to avoid doing so online, the environment that is proving the absolute worst for someone who does not have rock-solid defenses, which I certainly do not. Furthermore, I also do my best not to involve deep-seated political issues in my creative work (the ones I share at any rate), though I recognize that my own beliefs are represented in the work I create regardless of whether I intend them to be or not. And yet, for the first time since I have been politically conscious, something has happened that I feel absolutely compelled to write about, and to share with as many people as will listen. It involves a man named Andrew Yang.
I have always done my best not to live in a bubble. It is hard, because like most others, I too feel the need to seek out validation in the things that I already believe. Listening to people passionately propagate ideas that I disagree with on a fundamental level, or even find potentially harmful is painful to me. It makes me want to tune out, to label the bearers of those ideas as ignorant and uneducated, and simply continue to consume the media that agrees with me. At the end of the day it just makes me feel that much less depressed. And believe me, I am very depressed. I have spoken previously in a post about Blizzard games, the company behind World of Warcraft. I talked briefly about how upset I am that the overarching story ideas all have to serve the Horde vs. Alliance narrative of the games. But as I’ve always believed, games only mimic real life, and ridiculous as it may sound, the kind of communication I have seen from supporters of one faction regarding the other very closely resembles the type of communication displayed between the Horde and Alliance of American politics. As far as the game is concerned there is no reason for the factions to be at each other’s throats. The threats they faced were hostile to both of them. In essence, the groups within the fan base had been pitted against each other in order to further fuel sales of the game. And if you think that I am going way too far into hyperbole, then I recommend you think about what you have seen from American political discourse in this century and really reflect upon whether it is at all that different.
I tell you all this, so that you can get a comprehensive picture of what my emotional state is at the time that I am subjected to Andrew Yang. The first I heard of him was from my brother, who only discovered him randomly in a YouTube comment somewhere. I remember that, along with the link to the interview he gave to the Joe Rogan podcast, he had added only a single half-sentence: “This is our president“. At the time I did not know how right he was. I can’t quite remember what was going through my head at the time; it likely had to do with one of the many things that I had to finish in the semester I was currently in. But whatever the reason, I looked at the length of the interview and thought to myself: “Eh, maybe later…” I knew what his talking points were. Automation has been my number one point of interest since I started studying HR, and it’d been on my radar long before that. In conversations previously, I have described how we deal with the massive amounts of job loss destined to occur as a result of AI and robotics as the question that will define the 21st century. Without listening to the interview I knew that automation was one thing he routinely talked about, and at the time I thought that was all I really needed to know about him. He was, after all, just another one of the myriad folks running for president as a democrat, likely seeing his opportunity in what the left considers Donald Trump’s disastrous administration. But my Mom would not stop talking about the guy, and then I listened to my brother talk at length about his thoughts on the subject and on universal basic income, and for a reason I cannot fully describe, something just clicked. And then I sat down and listened to the interview.
To say that I was blown away would be an understatement for the emotional state I ended up in, and am in fact currently still in. I don’t even feel like me repeating his talking points would matter that much. I would much rather simply direct you to the podcast itself, or literally any other 5-minute interview he’s given on literally any network. That includes news networks that I consider harmful and biased, interviewers I find to be less than fully credible, shows that I have not even previously heard about. Just listen to him talk for 5 minutes, and I think you will feel the same way. Thus far I have seen the man appear in front of various Fox News hosts, numerous town halls, TV and radio shows of all sorts, and to be honest I simply could not stop. Listening to his in-depth, well researched, breathtakingly insightful analysis of the political and economic situation was in and of itself a delight to hear. Even when it comes to a topic that is as much of a political minefield as universal basic income, not a single interviewer with any sort of malicious or legitimate intent could ask him a single question that he could not answer directly, eloquently, politely and without the support of several key studies or sets of data. For the first time after having listened to so many left and right wing politicians avoid directly answering questions to repeat the same four syllable political key phrases, to the point where the presence of a guest politician of any alignment on a news show became a reason for me to switch away, I found myself addicted. Likely it is simply a breath of fresh air to hear someone with a legitimate chance at presidential nomination talk specific numbers and real solutions. But the thing that ended up driving me to the point of crying actual honest to God tears was, and believe me I know how this sounds, scrolling down to the YouTube comments.
The realm of YouTube comments on the internet is oftentimes compared to a bog, a cesspool of humanity’s worst on full display in such a fashion, that it just draws you deeper and deeper in. I remember seeing on YouTube Robert Mueller deliver his speech on his investigation on both Fox and MSNBC Youtube channels. Needless to say on the former he was a snake, charlatan, a crook set out to destroy America. On the other an admired professional, a true public servant, and an American hero. That is the nature of the bubbles we live in: you believe what the narrative is, you let the narrative do the thinking for you. But every single video, every single interview that I could find on Andrew Yang, I had to HUNT for even just a single few comments remotely negative about him. I cannot begin to stress how unheard of this is. To see Americans in this divided political climate on two sides of the aisle come together over anything, and to do so seemingly so unanimously, to the point where negative opinions seem to be so negligible that one could almost describe them as non-existent: this just doesn’t happen. And on freaking YOUTUBE of all places. And as I scroll down on liberal and conservative news channels’ comment sections, seeing the number of people from Republican and Democratic camps rally behind this man and his ideas… As I said, YouTube comments drove me to legitimate tears of joy. I’m actually crying as I write this.
I just want to acknowledge that I realize how gushy all of this sounds. I am fully aware. In a weird way it makes sense that the first time in 10 years I make a significant political statement online would be one so emotionally driven. But there is good reason for it. I described many times how I saw the world around me seem to crumble. How I never felt at home, because I felt surrounded by people who I could never identify with. To see people from so many different backgrounds and so many different political ideologies unite behind a single person like this was just this feeling of hope that caught me off guard. I never expected to get this emotional over an American presidential candidate. And make no mistake: for now that hope is a glimmer. Andrew Yang is polling amazingly well for how little coverage he is receiving. But I simply cannot shake the feeling that the system is deliberately trying to keep him out of the race. Shockingly the left wing Media seems far more biased towards him then the right does, likely because they would favor more “establishment” candidates. But his ideas, his manner, his ability and willingness to engage in discourse with anyone and everyone willing to listen to him, and his ability to defend his ideas in a compelling, thoughtful, intelligent, and polite manner make him, in my eyes, one of the most worthy, and in fact necessary people to become president. My brother was right: this is our president.
So why bother writing about this? I don’t really treat this website as a blog. I don’t frequently share my ideas about everyday life, and I certainly do not engage in political discourse at all if I can help it. As far as my following online is considered, it is so minimal as to have practically no significance. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but that’s the truth. Will my posting an article about Andrew Yang make much of a difference? Probably not. But then again, though Andrew Yang is probably not going to become president, he tries anyway. He has a campaign and a plan better than any of his competitors, he tours the country, he talks all who will listen, he goes on news shows most of the Democratic candidates wouldn’t touch with a 40 foot pole, because he is happy for every additional supporter he reaches and every mind he changes. So to stay consistent with that mentality, if just one person reads this post, clicks the links, listens to him talk and chooses to contribute to help him achieve his goal of fixing America, then that means I helped. And if the day comes when our own hatred for each other leads to a conflict that ends us all, all I want in my final moments is to be able to say: “Though I didn’t have the power to do much, what I did have the power to do, I did.”
A collection of links:
Just to name a few. Google his name, or enter it into Youtube and I promise you it will be worth it! Thanks so much for reading! Now I can go back to being politically silent for 10 more years…