This is part of a series of persuasive essays written by Lancaster Stands Up members in support of their preferred candidates in the lead-up to Lancaster Stands Up’s People’s Caucus (Saturday, February 15 — details and RSVP here) and member endorsement vote. All LSU members are invited to submit a piece advocating for their preferred candidate. Submissions should be no longer than 600 words, should not argue with other members’ essays, and should be respectful. You must be a LSU member. (Become a LSU member here.) Submit your essay to info@lancasterstandsup.org.

Humanity First

by Charles Linares, Lancaster Stands Up member

Humanity First is Andrew Yang’s official campaign slogan, and has become my mantra. I support Andrew because of his positive messaging, courage, and pragmatism. He doesn’t waste time attacking other candidates or Trump, instead he focuses on the issues and presents innovative solutions to problems that needed to be addressed before the current administration. While GDP is at record highs and unemployment is at all time lows, what’s often not discussed is that suicides, depression/anxiety, economic insecurity, underemployment, substance abuse, and overdoses are also at record highs. Marriage, home ownership, new business creation, and satisfaction at work are at all time lows. On top of all that our life expectancy has been decreasing over the last few years. In the richest country in the history of the planet, this is unacceptable. 

Last year I didn’t know who Andrew Yang was, it was my best friend who introduced me, the same best friend who convinced me to knock on doors for Jess King two years ago. He “Yanged” me (turned me into a Yang supporter). Now I am collecting signatures to ensure his name is on the ballot here in PA. The more I learned about him, the more I learned about how technology such as artificial intelligence and automation are fundamentally changing our way of life and will put many of us out of work in the near future–if it hasn’t already. 

He has already made millions around the world think harder; another one of his campaign slogans: Make America Think Harder or MATH. On his website he has over 160 policy proposals which provide detailed plans to tackle issues such as climate change, campaign finance reform, criminal justice reform, immigration, and healthcare. His most famous proposal is the Freedom Dividend or universal basic income (UBI), where every adult would receive $1,000 a month for the rest of their lives–a policy that could literally fulfill MLK’s mission of ending abject poverty. 

The Freedom Dividend is not a magic bullet and will not solve every problem in our society, but it would be a game changer for the great majority of Americans who are an unexpected $500 expense away from an empty bank account. It would relieve much of the stress and anxiety for Americans living paycheck to paycheck. And it’s a policy we can count on because our government already knows how to send checks to large amounts of people in a timely manner. So while we figure out how to provide universal healthcare and tuition free college/trade schools, we can start improving our own lives right now through UBI. 

Andrew Yang is a long shot candidate but his campaign is important and worth supporting because he is raising awareness about issues that weren’t being discussed by any other candidates. He’s often said he will either win the nomination or the other candidates will begin to sound like him–and already other democratic candidates have expressed support for UBI and have recognized we’re in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. His unifying message has resonated with voters across the political spectrum. He is the only candidate with a net positive favorability rating among all voters and has also inspired people who had given up on our political process to become involved. When you internalize the slogan Humanity First, you begin to realize his appeal. A quote from another supporter sums it beautifully, “Candidate X makes me want to go out and fight the bad guys. Andrew makes me want to go out and be a better person.” Humanity First.