I generally try not to get overtly political on any of my sites, or at least I try to refrain from outright expressing my specific views on a candidate, but since this is my site/my blog, I figured I’d go ahead and indulge myself.
I’m voting for John Hagelin. I’m actually going to one day of the Natural Law Party Convention at the end of August. And I really believe in what John Hagelin stands for.
Here’s a quick rundown of why I support him:

  • One of his first orders of business would be to eliminate PACs and soft money contributions to presidential campaigns. They’ve absolutely tainted our government, making a vote for Democrats or Republicans an utterly wasted vote.
  • Hagelin wants massive health care reform. One of his mantras is that we have the most expensive disease-care system in the world. And it’s true. You can’t get reimbursed a few hundred dollars for a personal trainer and a treadmill, but wait nine months and you can get reimbursed $50,000 for bypass surgery (another one of Hagelin’s mantras). Preventative medicine and health care is the key to improving our life span and quality of life.
  • Hagelin acknowledges that education is the answer to all our problems. Let’s harness the incredible creativity of children to help them learn better and enjoy what they’re learning. Let’s pay teachers more and incentivize schools to pioneer creative, positive new programs.

The problem, though, is that Hagelin almost definitely will not get elected this year. Why? Here are the reasons and my explanations as to why they’re nonsense:

  • “A vote for a third party is a wasted vote” mentality: Bullshit. How can voting for someone who actually represents what you believe in and is not funded by corporations be a wasted vote? A wasted vote is voting for the either member of the two party stranglehold — it’s sending the message that “Hey, fellas, you all are doing fine. You’ve accomplished a lot!” I doubt very many people actually feel that way.
  • “A third party candidate isn’t as competent”: Somehow, people convince themselves that if we’re on the brink of war, that they want the comfort of knowing a Democrat or a Republican is in office, as if he’d automatically make a better call because he’s a member of a major party. Get this straight people: the only difference in qualifications between a major party candidate and a third party candidate is money. There’s no difference in competence.
  • The Media: The coverage of Hagelin is much improved this year versus his previous two bids for office, but unfortunately, the media has frequently painted Hagelin as simply the “Anti-Buchanan” candidate of the Reform Party. Few media outlets have really spoken to Hagelin to get his stance on the issues.
  • Overemphasis on TM: Transcendental Meditation — whether you view it as a cult or as a legitimate form of relaxation, it doesn’t really matter. Sure, Hagelin practices TM and he thinks it would help a lot of societal ills, but he’s not a one-trick pony. It’s a very small part of his solution, and he says frequently that he’ll “stick [his] neck out for what works” — if TM isn’t reasonable in a situation, he won’t push it.
  • Third parties are held back: This is the painful truth. In order to eligible for federal funding, you have to get on the ballot in all 50 states (getting on the ballot in the US is harder than in any other democratic country in the world). To be eligible for debates, you have to have federal funding AND 15% of the vote in the polls (this was raised arbitrarily by the so-called “non-partisan” debate commission). Explain this to me — to get votes and to get known, you need to get into debates. But to get into the debates, you need to already be known. Not very fair. In my opinion, if you’ve already achieved ballot access in an appropriate number of states, you should be allowed in the debates. But you know what? Bush and Gore would NEVER want to debate Hagelin. Hagelin is a quantum physicist with 165 IQ. He would make them look like morons. Moreso.

I would love to see Hagelin win. I’d love to see Nader win. I’d love to see Browne or even McReynolds make a strong showing. But you know what — until this country finishes waking up from it’s two-party slumber, we’ll be stuck with politics as usual.