By Jason Johnson
When Lenora Fulani decided to join forces with Pat Buchanan to help him run for president, I was surprised. Not only did there not seem to be much of an ideological match between the two, but there were questions concerning whether or not breaking the stranglehold of the two party system over American government was worth the price of possibly having a Pat Buchanan presidency. Nevertheless, a newfound appreciation for the Reform Party was born of this coupling of strange bedfellows, as it now appears that the Reform Party may be the best option for African Americans seeking to re-establish the saliency of our votes in an increasingly diverse electorate. Right now the Reform Party has it's hands full with a new and dynamic candidate that although a bit iconoclastic certainly deserves the attention of a black citizenry ready for real change, his name is John Hagelin.
is a mixture between Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington and The
Nutty Professor. As one
of the world's foremost Quantum physicists he has helped develop unified field
theories for science and taken that same commitment to parsimony into creating
a better government. As the presidential candidate for the Natural
Law Party in
wrote a book entitled, "Manual for
a Perfect Government"
outlining here-to-fore controversial subjects and program ideas. Imagine, his
naivety at suggesting that the cost of subsidized healthcare could be lowered
by school education programs that teach healthy living and eating habits
instead of our current system that supports millions of people who live
lifestyles that are known to cause heart disease and cancer. What's more, the Natural
Law Party under John
Hagelin proposes an ongoing
discussion of such massive trade policies like NAFTA
in order to insure American citizens aren't left out in the cold as they were
at the recent WTO
conference in Seattle.
The viability of this man's candidacy is not only surprising but outright shocking given the lack of public discourse on third parties in the 2000 elections. While Pat Buchanan has more or less fallen off the pundit map after his switch to the Reform party, the Natural Law Candidate has been forced to survive off of the crumbs of a Larry King Live spot and a stint on NPR. This is particularly interesting considering that Hagelin, already the Natural Law nominee for the presidency is now seeking the Reform party nomination. In an unprecedented move that should invigorate even the most jaded of political observers, Hagelin hopes to create a third party coalition in America. With a Reform nomination on top of the Natural Law nomination and any additional parties perhaps he could break the polling percentage necessary to take part in the fall presidential debates. Just imagine a coalition of Reform, Natural Law, Independent, and Taxpayer parties finally freeing the voting public from the vice-grip of the sound-bite addicted Republicans and Democrats.
So far the chances look pretty good, the NL party is on the ballot in 50 states already, and is only 6,000 dollars short of qualifying for federal matching funds. In addition the Hagelin camp can boast it's first Reform victory, during the Iowa/Minnesota Reform party straw poll he trounced Pat Buchanan in the polls 63% to 11%. (Although Pat did only phone in his speech and debate!) Although he's providing us with a wonderful opportunity to rock the system the scientist turned would be Cicero is not without his critics or controversial connections. As a founding member of the Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy he operates under a philosophy that states "government must: practice only those social and economic policies that are supported by scientific data." In and of itself this is benign but the fusion of science and government programs has occasionally brought forth some disturbing policies, eugenics comes to mind. In fact the Natural Law party platform calls for all presidential candidates to undergo an electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scan that would supposedly reveal their neurophysiological ability to successfully hold the top office. Although Hagelin himself claims that his brain falls into the top1% for psychological orderliness, one has to wonder just how far such a belief in brain scanning for jobs would go under his party. A second, although somewhat less disturbing, aspect of the third party contender is his connection with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, famed transcendental meditation (TM) guru who once taught the Beatles the ways of the mind. As a follower of some of the Yogi's methods, Hagelin himself is a firm believer in creating education systems that enhance the mind, body and spirit.
Although controversial, this
certainly isn't necessarily a negative aspect of the party or the candidate.
There are many Americans who define and experience spirituality in ways that
don't always begin or end with a sermon or drinking wine. I would rather a
candidate infuse their own belief in spirituality into their policies rather
than the current trend of slapping the word "faith based" or
"Christian" on to policies that are anything but. Moreover, although
the idea of meditation and higher spiritual awareness may be considered
strange areas for a presidential contender to dabble in it's really nothing
new. We should all take note that Nancy
Reagan ran Ron's
life, and in some respects American domestic and foreign policy based on the
advice of astrologer Joan
Each and every voting
American stands at the threshold of a new era in U.S. politics, we are at a
point where we can entrench or break out from trends that will affect national
elections for the next few decades. We can sit idly by and let the 300-pound
gorilla of the George Bush
campaign march into the
demonstrating without question that the highest office in the land can be
bought despite glaring ineptitude on the part of candidate. We can sit on our
hands and let a Clinton
legacy of corruption and violation of ethical and moral standards sludge on
another 4 years in office under
there is a third option, a chance to make our voices heard in a party, and
possibly with a candidate that will show the "Demicans" and the
"Republicrats" that politics as usual is dead. Take a look at
candidate John Hagelin,
he may not be the best choice for president, but he may be the only choice
this fall to remind the pollsters and the spin-masters that American
representative democracy still has a few breaths left.
For comments contributing writer Jason Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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