by Robert Roth
Published by Griffin
Date Published: 09/1999
Almost two-thirds of eligible Americans dont vote. Where are we on election day? At home, at work, out of town? But why, when we have the opportunity to elect our leader, do we elect to stay home? My guess is that the succession of presidents weve had hasnt changed a thing, and the showcased candidates we have now arent going to be any different. At a ladies tea I attended last week, one lady echoed another when she said, There just isnt any leadership. Neither party or candidate inspires me.
I know people will votebut getting voters to the polls these days may mean more than interesting them in an issue or candidate. The same old thing wont work. It is utter insanity to keep beating a dead horse. What if we had a complete overturn of the way we do things, the adoption of a new philosophy, a mechanism for change?
I have no doubt that if someone dynamic, clear, and wonderful took charge in the debates and challenged us to something bigger, we would turn out in droves. What we need is A Reason to Vote.
A Reason to Vote? Oh yes! This book really movesnot just from Iowa to Washingtonbut me personally. This amazing story chronicles the founding and rise of the Natural Law Party, now Americas fastest growing third party. A Reason to Vote dynamically shakes the dust off our beloved Constitution, and leaves the reader with a grasp of natural law that will change the way they examine life, and especially how they look at political issues. This is a fresh and original work, unlike anything I have read before.
In an early chapter, Does Politics Really Matter Anymore?, we are in a whisper while we look over the shoulder of the author, Robert Roth, as he is observing a press conference featuring John Hagelin, the NLPs presidential candidate, in Washington. On that day, Roth tells us that campaign finance scandals are absorbing the attention of Congress while the right to free speech, or the right of all qualified candidates to join in public debates, is on trial in another part of Washington. The press is barely reporting it. The depths to which our political process had fallen truly saddened me. Mr. Roth says politics really does matter, so I stayed in the saddle and kept reading. But really, I couldnt put the book down. Mr. Roths written illustrations portrayed the people, ideas, issues, obstacles and victories that third parties experience when they try to get their ideas and candidates before the press and public. When I did finish the book, (why did it have to end?) it was way past sundown and inspiration was running through me like a herd of mustangs stampeding across a mesa.
Later in my office I pulled up the web site. Whoa! The whole platform is there! (The big parties dont publish their platforms at all. I guess they think nothing ever changes.) As I clicked through different departments, I noticed the Natural Law Party platform has a general orientation toward preventive measures, like preventive medicine. That means keeping people healthy rather than spending so much treating diseases. (Hmmm, a health-care system or a disease-care system, which do you want?) Dr. Hagelin has testified before Congress to get preventive language included in the bills. Right now, preventive medicine is illegal according to Medicaid and Medicare legislation.
It is the NLPs view that we could shift our foreign policy from one of being the worlds largest arms dealer to a policy where Americas greatest assether inexhaustible creativityis shared. (This is happening: Peace Corps and other similar organizations are receiving an increasing number of applications these days.)
With other consumer groups, the NLP has spear-headed efforts to have all bio-engineered food products labeled as such so that consumers can make informed choices. (The FDA is ignoring the people. How does that make you feel?)
The NLP supports the development of non-polluting and sustainable energy resources such as wind and solar to replace fossil fuels. (Theres enough wind in Texas to fuel the whole nation. What are we waiting for?)
Another important note is that the Natural Law Party and its candidates refuse to accept any PAC donations, preferring instead to be elected on a solid platform of scientifically proven solutions that provide for transparent communication between the government and the people.
Now lets get back to what natural law is. Dr. Hagelin, writing in the forward to A Reason to Vote, says that our ability to accomplish anything, individually or as a society, is through the skillful application of the laws of nature in daily life. An example from nature is that all the millions of species on our planet live and grow and evolve in concert togetherwithout conflict or waste. Hagelin, a quantum physicist, suggests that in order for us to mirror this government of nature and its efficiency and effectiveness, we must institute policies and technologies that are in accordance with natural law and which make maximum use of the organizing power of nature to improve our health, harvest our food, light our cities and enlighten our minds, and these natural law-based solutions will be without hazardous side-effects. Its a lot to ponder, but Hagelin moved on to another point, one which comes back to that adage about leading a horse to water. All the posters in the world warning about drug abuse dont do much to curb drug abuse in anyone. Those posters also dont invite people to make better choices or redirect their energies toward activities that would lead to fulfillment. People have to want to change, and they wont until their attitudes change, Hagelin says in the book, and he wants to educate people in such a way that theyll want to makeand do makechoices that are life fulfilling.
Earlier I mentioned a new philosophy, but natural law isnt really newits mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights is based on natural laws. You can think of it as public policies that are so right, once implemented, they could never be recalledbecause theyre so right, and work so well for everyone. (Why cant public policies be like this all the time?) It seems that the writers of the Constitution knew something about the universal field of natural law that surrounds all of us, and then based our government on it.
To determine if a proposed policy is in accordance with natural law it would first be tested for scientific value. When lawmakers found what works scientifically, they could then implement what would be a guaranteed result, and the fundingtaxpayers moneywould not be wasted. We can see then, that natural law is neither conservative nor liberal, yet it offers specific results that lead to success, security and prosperity, and harmony for all of us. If public policies are in accordance with natural law, then they will succeed, and succeed every time.
By the way, the history of third parties in the United States is significant. Abraham Lincoln was elected under a third partythe Republicans. Third parties have been responsible for inspiring the adoption of policies which resulted in child labor laws, the womens right to vote, workers compensation, and the abolition of slavery. Not a bad track record is it?
Here at the end of the trail I can only say that I am glad that the story doesnt end on the last page, but in fact is getting bigger and bigger. A Reason to Vote is more than a book, its an invitation to participate in Americas transformation and renewal. The Natural Law Party is fast reviving the idealism and wholeness that we long to live as a reality.
Book Review by Brynne Sissom