The Contra Costa Times
October 29, 2000
I'VE GOT A STATEMENT TO MAKE
By S. Michele Fry
Times Editorial Writer
"IT'S IMPOSSIBLE any sane American can be undecided anymore," James Fallows, national correspondent for Atlantic Monthly, said two weeks ago. Yet here I sit, sane, American and undecided about who'll get my vote Nov. 7.
It's the choices. They kind of, well, stink....
I see the flaws of the major candidates and flaws with their plans, and I'm having a hard time getting past them. I have problems with how they have treated the political system....
But I hear there are other candidates, and in a time such as this maybe they deserve more careful consideration. Who are Ralph Nader, of the Green Party; Harry Browne, of Libertarian Party; and John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party? (I know enough about Pat Buchanan, and I'll pass. Thank you very much.)....
More people are coming to see the importance of meditating and stress reduction; this is not some other-worldly concept or Far Eastern religious concept. I feel a little Berkeley-esque, but I'm not going to be deterred as many are by the Transcendental Meditation thing. Especially as I examine who John Hagelin is. He's a genius; he's a quantum physicist and that sounds like a synonym for genius to me.
As I look further I think this stuff the Natural Law Party is saying makes sense. Hagelin wants to end PACs and thus take away special-interest's control of politics; he wants to create a health-care system that's prevention-oriented; he wants to protect the environment and our food. He also wants to reduce crime, and the method is different from today's common methods. He's got a tax plan, an education plan and a foreign policy plan. The plans are somewhat outside "the box," but no one thinks those plans in the box are really working, right?
I wonder, however, if someone this smart who can understand the concepts of quantum physics the way I understand chocolate-fat relationship can relate to me and my problems. Can he communicate with me? I've known engineers; this has the potential to be worse. This is one reason it would have been beneficial to include these third-party candidates in debates.
Hagelin seems to know how I'm waffling about this vote. He says "A vote for 'the lesser of evils' is worse than a wasted vote; it is a destructive vote. It sends a loud signal to Washington that says: 'Keep up the good work! We are pleased with the lowest educational outcomes in our nation's history; with the highest percentage of our citizens in jail of any country in the world; with the poorest health and highest health costs of any developed nation.' Don't send that destructive message. Tell Washington that we demand foundational reforms -- crucial solutions in education, health, crime, trade, foreign policy, and the environment that cannot wait four more years. It's time to take back our stolen democracy. It's time we take our place in history as the voters who broke the two-party death grip." Yeah!
Many undecideds end up deciding to "back a winner," but that's a faulty decision. Voting is not about a support system; it is about making winners. Voters are creators, not supporters. "Backing a winner" suggests the vote is an after-effect when instead it is the cause. It is a punch in the midst of the fighting.
These are men with hopes and dreams and ideas and ideals. They are fighting for something. There's something very American about that. I think I can vote for one of them because I've got a message to send.