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The Ann Arbor News
Sunday, June 4, 2000


By Rick Haglund

Memo to: UAW President Stephen P. Yokich
Re: Political party shopping

Dear Steve,

Wow, you're really cheesed off at Vice President Al Gore for supporting the China trade bill, aren't you?

I read that press release you put out, saying it's time to give up on the Democratic party and start searching for a third-party candidate who will better address the needs of working men and women....

I'm still having trouble believing you'd risk handing the election to George W. Bush by withholding your endorsement from Al Gore.

But if you're committed to this third-party thing, there's someone else you ought to consider: Natural Law Party presidential candidate John Hagelin.

I first heard about Hagelin in the 1996 campaign, when he was being interviewed on National Public Radio. My ears pricked up because I thought the announcer said his last name was Haglund.

Oh, well. I listened anyway and was fascinated by the guy. Basically, he believes we'd have fewer social problems and, therefore, a less costly government if we'd put more emphasis on education and prevention.

You're big on those things, too. The UAW runs the nation's largest private education and training system. And you're always harping on the automakers to do more preventive maintenance on their machinery.

I think you'd also like Hagelin's view on unionism and trade. He supports the rights of workers "to associate and to engage in collective bargaining to ensure good working conditions and fair compensation."

And while he favors international trade, Hagelin believes our nation's trade policies are being dictated by self-serving multinational corporations.

"When trade with China is all about selling Coca-Cola, Marlboro and pharmaceuticals with no concern for human rights, the environment or labor, then it becomes self-destructive," Hagelin recently told the Colorado Daily, the University of Colorado's student newspaper.

Those words could have come right out of your mouth, Steve.

Unlike Nader, Hagelin should appeal to a broad range of voters. His party's 50-point platform borrows ideas from conservatives, liberals and libertarians. Even Bill Clinton, who's known for hijacking Republicans' issues, would be impressed.

Hagelin proposes a flat-rate income tax. He believes the federal government shouldn't legislate for or against same-sex marriage, arguing it's not a governmental concern. And he favors gun control and affirmative action.

He says he supports what works, even if those solutions are unconventional. Hagelin says some 585,000 deaths a year related to heart disease could be prevented if Medicare would pay for preventive programs....

Lower health care costs would reduce employers' health insurance premiums, allowing businesses to raise wages. Sounds good, doesn't it, Steve?

Hagelin is a Harvard-educated quantum physicist who believes in the power of science and meditation, but he's no God-doubting intellectual.

Quantum physics teaches that we live "in a connected universe," he told the Colorado Daily. "So when you really pursue science to its limits, you end up with a spiritual message: the ultimate unity of everyone and everything in creation."

The UAW preaches unity, as well. Your name for it is "solidarity."

Steve, if you can't forgive Al Gore for supporting the China trade bill, Hagelin's your man.

Rick Haglund

Rick Haglund is a business reporter in The Ann Arbor News metro Detroit bureau.

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