Marianne Williamson has made a career out of leading people through personal transformations. As the author of 13 books on transformational wisdom, she uses spirituality and psychology to help people tap into what it takes to change their lives for the better.
After 35 years of transforming individuals, Williamson now wants to transform the country in the same way. She is running for the Democratic nomination for president and makes the case that her work within systems and her understanding of social dynamics give her skills most aligned of all Democratic candidates with the country’s needs.
Williamson spoke to about 30 persons at the Welcome Center at Thomas Jefferson Gardens in Jefferson Saturday, using polished public speaking skills and examples from history to draw a dire picture of what “unbridled capitalism” is doing to the U.S.
She immediately drew a parallel between the then-radical actions of Thomas Jefferson and other signers of the Declaration of Independence to end aristocracy in the Colonies and the need now to change the course the country.
The country has corrected itself several times in its history, Williamson explained, correcting slavery with abolition, correcting the oppression of women with the women’s suffrage movement and correcting institutionalized white supremacy and segregation with the Civil Rights Movement.
“Now we’ve gotten it wrong again,” she said. “We have swerved from our democratic principles. We’ve swerved from the better angels of our nature, both in terms of how our government functions and how our economy functions. Our government and our economy are in an unholy alliance in a way that basically means we, over the last 40 years, have reverted to an aristocratic system.”
She said through tax policies and other policies, “our government is now a handmaiden more than not, an advocate for a small group of multi-national corporate forces which form the new aristocracy of our day.”
Williamson labels our economic system as “sociopathic,” showing no responsibility for workers or the environment but putting profits first. She called it a “subtle tyranny” and said it is “time for our generation to stand against economic tyranny.”
Historically, Americans have fought “unbridled capitalism when it’s not tethered to its ethical core,” she said, and she cited child labor laws, labor unions, anti-trust laws and anti-monopoly laws as examples.
“We’re not the first generation to find ourselves at the effect of an assault against the foundations of our democracy,” she said. “Let’s not be the first ones to wimp out on doing what it takes to make sure this country gets back on track.”
Williamson described herself as a progressive Democrat. She supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage, universal healthcare, free college at state schools and full student loan forgiveness wherever possible.
“I want those things because I believe the whole point of democracy, as well as the way to a revitalized U.S. economy, is to unleash the spirit of the American people,” she said.
One of her most progressive ideas is finding a way to pay reparations to African-Americans harmed by slavery prior to the Civil War. She says former slaves were never able to get a footing in the economy, and that is the origin of race issues and structural inequality in the U.S.
Williamson also faults the country for not taking better care of young people, for not putting their needs first. She would add a cabinet-level Department of Childhood and Youth. According to Williamson, millions of children are attending inadequate schools and are living with chronic trauma.
She concluded by saying that many of the needed changes will take place under any Democrat presidency — rejoining the Paris Peace Accord and the Western Alliance, for instance, and “no more best friends with Russia and Saudi Arabia” — but the country needs a “political visionary more than a political mechanic,” and that is what Williamson can offer.
More information can be found on Williamson’s campaign website.