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Hagelin for president? Well, meditate about it


Had it up to here with the gridlocked Congress, political lips that lie and blah, blah, blah on your TV screen?

Of course you are, says Dr. John Hagelin, presidential candidate of the new Natural Law Party, campaigning yesterday in Baltimore.

But has he got a tonic for you:

* Savings of 50 percent in the nation's $800 billion annual health-care bill.

* Higher levels of moral reasoning.

* A perpetual growth phase for the economy.

* An end to the "coarsening" and "demeaning" attack mode in politics.

And much, much more.

What American government needs is a little more "oooooooommmmmmmmmm," a little more transcendental meditation, a mantra for the democratic process, he says.

What it needs is Dr. John Hagelin for president and natural law as a guideline.

Dr. Hagelin teaches at the Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa. There, in that state's famous cornfields, he declared his candidacy several days after his party was founded last April.

Natural law holds that certain laws transcend the laws of man. These laws are fundamental to human nature and can be understood through human reason. Dr. Hagelin and his party believe that society can be made more amenable to solutions that exist in science via "coherence-creating groups" of 7,000 to 10,000 people whose meditations would spread therapeutically to help rid communities of crime.

Meditation could help also to reduce the size of prisons by fundamentally changing the attitudes of offenders. All of this would save money.

The technique could also reduce the costs of Medicaid and improve the quality of public education. Meditation might also help to eliminate the stultifying impact of party politics, which have become a barricade to effective action in government. With the equanimity and openness provided by meditation, the Natural Law Party hopes to "bring the light of science" into public affairs.

In the field of medical care, he says, "scientifically proven" approaches to nutrition, exercise, stress management and something called "self-pulse diagnosis" could save $400 billion a year -- enough to offset the current annual budget deficit.

Yet, while science has many answers, it can't do much about timeliness: Dr. Hagelin conceded during a press conference that his difficulties with getting on the ballot in many states might have been eased if he had started sooner.

Despite this problem, he said during a news conference at the Radisson Plaza-Lord Baltimore Hotel here yesterday that he has qualified for federal matching funds -- as much as $4.5 million, he hopes. He has not received official word that he qualifies, according to his vice presidential running mate, Mike Tompkins, but the ticket has collected $5,000 in contributions of $250 or less in each of 20 states.

The contributions are to be used to get the Natural Law Party's platform into 91 million American homes by mail. The $9 million cost is to be covered by $4.5 million in hoped-for contributions and the same amount in federal matching funds.

Dr. Hagelin and his party argue that American government is hopelessly paralyzed by self-serving, partisan bickering. The crime of all this, he says, is that solutions for many if not all our problems are there for the using.

Dr. Hagelin says that while he did not have time to qualify for the ballot in Maryland this year, he hopes to generate a write-in campaign. His name will actually appear on the ballot in at least 18 states.

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