We have all been horrified by the tragic shootings in New Zealand. That so many innocent people were killed simply for attending their place of worship is reprehensible. It shows how destructive beliefs can drive the worst of human atrocity. As the son of immigrants myself, extremity and violence towards an immigrant community pain me on a personal level. My heart goes out to Muslims around the country and all those affected.
As the world becomes more connected and demographics in countries change, this sort of violence will only continue to rise unless we proactively combat it. One of our chief goals in the US should be reducing the tribalism and division that make these tragedies even remotely possible. It will be one of my primary goals as President. Among the measures I will propose:
- American Exchange Program: It’s important for Americans to get a sense of people in other communities. Every senior in high school should have the ability to spend one month living and working in another part of the country with 15–20 other seniors from different backgrounds before graduating. They would likely live with a family that has a kid who is similarly being sent to another community. This way, everyone will get to know different people from across state and cultural lines. It would make it much harder to demonize people because you would know them. Our kids don’t learn anything the spring of their senior year anyway—this program could help them make the most of the time.
- Mental Health Initiative: America is facing a mental health crisis, and only a small fraction of Americans who need help have access to care. My brother is a psychology professor and I know how much good the right support and treatment can do. We must invest massive resources to both provide help to those who need it and destigmatize the need for treatment. I will also have a White House Psychologist in part to show that everyone struggles and there is no shame in it.
- Hate Groups: Tribalism, when allowed to be poisoned and amplified, can lead to terrible things. As President, I would actively encourage efforts in anti-racism; that is, engaging people with racist beliefs and attempting to convince them that their beliefs are incorrect. I am inspired by the experiences of Deeyah Khan. Condemnation feels gratifying but isn’t a solution.
- Gun Safety: We all know this is the toughest one but likely the biggest difference maker. We should make sure everyone who purchases a gun goes through a federal background check. We license and test for vehicles. We should do the same for guns, particularly those that can kill many people in a public setting. We have to find a zone of agreement with responsible gun owners.
Though this tragedy did not occur in the US, we all realize that it very well could have. We should act as if it did.
Even as we reflect on the problems of the world, we are doing our best to solve them.
Our campaign had a rally in San Francisco on Friday—the biggest yet. 3,000 people were there. In this case, pictures are indeed worth a thousand words:
It was phenomenal. It felt like a kickoff to history. The atmosphere in San Francisco was electric. The energy around this campaign has skyrocketed in recent days. We came away pumped to do it again.
Though we have qualified for the June/July DNC debates, we now need to make the September debates, which will involve national polling. How do we get my name recognition up?
We are going to be launching a national tour with the goal of having big crowds in each city. We are going to build a movement that no one can ignore in its force and idealism. Think Bernie 2.0 but with better music.
We will be heading to Chicago next Monday—come on out if you’re there and tell your friends! More dates will be announced soon. If you’d like us to come to your city please do join the Yang Gang. I promise to go to at least one place that is not a usual hotbed—I know what it’s like to feel like no one ever visits you.
This week I am heading to New Hampshire to campaign—if you are there, I hope to see you soon.
Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to change the course of history. The world needs us to win.