Politicians At Home: In Conversation with Marianne Williamson

Emma Nicholson, Writer

Student journalists from around the country got the chance to speak with 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson on Tuesday, April 7 over a Zoom call.

When student journalists got the chance to connect with presidential candidate Marianne Williamson through a Zoom call in early April, one of the first questions asked was an expected, yet insightful inquiry: Why did you decide to run for president? Williamson, a candidate in the 2020 election, responded with the following: “I felt deep in my gut that certain things needed to be said that were not going to be.” This idea of using your voice in a public sphere became the theme of Tuesday’s interview, as Marianne Williamson inspired students around the country to speak up for their beliefs.

Politico
Marianne Williamson is an author, activist, spiritual leader, and politician.

Marianne Williamson is an author, spiritual leader, activist, and most recently, a 2020 democratic presidential candidate. A native of Houston, Texas, Williamson has published 14 books during her career, and four of these books were named New York Times Best Sellers. Many of her books involve spirituality, religion, and meditation, including her workbook series, “A Course in Miracles,” which centers around finding one’s inner peace. You may know her from one of her most famous quotes, originally published in her best seller, “A Return to Love,” that reads: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” You also may also recognize her from the debate stage last summer, where she debated alongside other front-runner democratic candidates.

You may recognize this well-known quote by Marianne Williamson, published in her book “A Return to Love.

But behind her presidential campaign is someone with a morally driven platform, who wishes to share her voice and say what she believes needs to be said. Marianne Williamson not only ran for president in 2020, but she also ran for representative in California back in 2014. Though this race was unsuccessful, she was asked during the interview what specific items she wanted to address in California, that may also have more national implications. “California is a very progressive state,” she said, immediately comparing it to Massachusetts in that way. “My desire was not so much to try to change things in California as it was to try to be a voice in Washington for the kind of progressive politics that California already represents.”

The New York Times
Marianne Williamson was recognized for her platform based on spirituality and love before ending her bid for the presidency on January 10th, 2020.

One of the phrases most commonly used during the interview, was the mention of “the system.” Ms. Williamson first mentioned “the system” when discussing the smaller size of her campaign, as well as her notably more progressive platform. By having newer ideas that are distinctive from those of front-runner candidates, she faces the challenge of not gaining enough support behind her platform. “I come from a generation which saw the danger of a revolution, a cultural, political revolution, being led by soloists, because what the system does in that case, is it just shoots the soloist.” Though she remarks that much has changed with today’s version of the “system,” she noted that character assassination is still a prevalent phenomenon. But what exactly will it take to fully overturn of the current values held by the White House? According to Ms. Williamson, this will be difficult without the support of many. “It has to be a choir. You can’t shoot a song. You can’t have a genuine revolution of values that is held only by stars. Senator Warren is a star and Senator Sanders is a star, but something has happened where politics has become a spectator sport. That’s why what you are doing [referencing the media] is so important.”

With this idea of systems, arose the question to Ms. Williamson: “What would be your ideal version of the political “system?”” In response, she would ultimately like to see “more individuals awake and active” in government. “The word politics shouldn’t just mean politics, it should be the active citizenry, that is ultimately the only antidote.” Williamson quoted Abraham Lincoln in saying, “There is not that much evil any government can perpetrate as long as the people remain vigilant.” In addition to active citizens, her ideal political system would work to end politicized gerrymandering and implement automatic voter registration on one’s 17th or 18th birthday.

Marianne Williamson hosts a virtual five-minute global prayer every Sunday on her website.

As far as her background in spirituality and meditation, it was noted by one student that this is a stress-inducing time for many, and Ms. Williamson was asked how she recommends being mindful these days. “Meditation is very, very powerful,” she says. She also recommends prayer and mindfulness. Every Sunday, Marianne Williamson hosts a virtual five-minute meditation/mindfulness session through her website (https://marianne.com/) that is free and available to anyone. “We have an adrenaline driven society,” she states, and with more free time comes more opportunities to connect with ourselves and practice mindfulness.

Williamson pictured on the democratic debate stage alongside candidates Tim Ryan, Andrew Yang, and Pete Buttigieg.

Towards the end of the interview, I got a chance to ask a question myself: “What would be your message to young people, especially women, who are looking to get involved in politics/government in some way?” Her answer was straightforward: “Do. It’s never too soon.” Though a concise answer, there is truly so much value in her words that any FHS student can learn from. It is never too early to get involved. Research local politicians, volunteer, and most importantly, vote when you are eligible. In referring to the difference that young people can make on a more national level, Ms. Williamson says, “Clearly, the voice of young people makes a tremendous difference. Greta Thunberg, if she was 15 years older, she would not be having the effect that she’s having.” Though some people tend to discount the youth voice, Ms. Williamson made it clear that she is not one of those people. “It begins at your age…It has got to be more than just looking at other people and hoping they will do it, it has got to be all of us.” 

Special thanks to John Vitti of the Boston Globe for providing student journalists the opportunity to speak with Marianne Williamson virtually.