By Shannon M. Davis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
At a time when many people hold politicians as dear to their hearts as a bad chest cold, listening to some unknown third party candidate's ideas is as appealing as a long run in freezing rain.
But Dr. John Hagelin, the Natural Law Party's 1996 candidate for president of the United States, might be the kind of outsider that could entice disaffected voters to reconsider things. Hagelin's ideas and sincerity might even persuade them back into the voting booth to exercise their rights.
The Harvard-trained quantum physicist will be on the Nov. 7 ballot in Tucson as a part of CityVote, the first urban-based presidential straw vote. Tucson is one of 20 cities participating in this nationwide program, and Hagelin will be one of 21 presidential candidates on the ballot, according to Anne Harper, City of Tucson elections specialist.
Hagelin was in town Monday as part of a 20-city swing, and spent part of the on the University of Arizona campus.
During an interview with the Wildcat, Hagelin talked about himself and the beliefs of the Natural Law Party (NLP), which include conflict-free politics and prevention-oriented government.
"NLP supports government based on what works and not what's politically expedient," Hagelin said. "Right now, the political process is a test of money and not a test of the best political party."
Hagelin believes government can benefit by operating according to natural law.
"Our planet manages the life of nearly two million species," he said. "They support one another and life evolves."
Natural law is the basis of all of the NLP's platform, including one of its cornerstones Ÿ education.
"Natural law can be utilized in education in very innovative ways," Hagelin said. "The purpose of education is to bring the life of citizens more into natural law while developing the creativity and intelligence of students and leaders. We're only using a small fraction of our God-given ability."
Hagelin wants to see natural law utilized in areas from good nutrition in school lunches to a more unorthodox approach of meditation in schools.
The NLP also advocates natural, prevention-oriented health care; field-tested crime prevention programs; renewable energy production; and natural, sustainable agricultural practices.
Both the timing and the ideas of Hagelin and the NLP make the once unthinkable third party candidate victory possible.
"The timing has never been better for a third party candidate," said Tom Wilson, a partner in the Tucson public affairs agency Lesher/Wilson Communications. "It's a daunting task ... an enormously difficult organizational task, but the mood of the electorate could not be better."
Said Hagelin, "Over 60 percent of Americans want to see a third party. That's why Ross Perot was so successful, but running on the economy is too narrow for any third party.
"The NLP is the only third party with a comprehensive slate of solutions," he continued, pointing out that he calls his candidacy a revitalization of America from the inside out. "Every other solution is a band-aid."
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