2020 Candidate Marianne Williamson's Quest To 'Heal America's Soul'

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Marianne Williamson seen on day three of Summit LA17 in Downtown Los Angeles's Historic Broadway Theater District on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Marianne Williamson seen on day three of Summit LA17 in Downtown Los Angeles's Historic Broadway Theater District on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

With David Folkenflik

Marianne Williamson has joined the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. She says the country needs a spiritual and moral leader.

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Marianne Williamson, Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential nomination. Author, lecturer, activist. Former independent candidate for California’s 33rd Congressional district. Author of "Healing the Soul of America." (@marwilliamson)

Interview Highlights

On what the first 100 days of her administration would look like

"First of all, I think that I will call European leaders and say, 'We're back,' and have a few chuckles and share the relief that we have rejoined the family of Western powers and a sense of how important that alliance is. I will call Jacinda Ardern, who is prime minister of New Zealand, who has said that she wants to make New Zealand the best place in the world for a child to grow up, and I will say to her, 'Girlfriend, you're on, because we will be having quite a competition for that title over the next four years.' I will call leaders of both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and I will work hard to begin the relationship with both of them, in which they are made very, very clear that the United States now has an equal relationship, in a very robust way, to both the legitimate security needs of Israel and also the human rights, and dignity, and economic hopes and opportunities of the Palestinian people. That will be a lot in that first hundred days.

"In addition to that, the American people, in electing me, will know that there are three things I'm very serious about that I'm going to accomplish as president. No. 1, we need a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Children and Youth. There needs to be a massive realignment of investment in this country in the direction of children 10 years old and younger. First of all, because we have millions of American children living in chronic trauma, we should be rescuing these children no differently than if they were victims of natural disasters. Right now our response is a kind of collective child neglect in which we simply normalize their despair.


"I have talked, from the beginning of my campaign, about reparations, about a much deeper healing of the of the racial divide, our need for racial reconciliation in this country. I believe that a reparations counsel needs to be appointed, which would be in charge of dispersing these funds over a period of 20 years. These funds that would be given for for projects of economic and educational renewal. I don't believe that the average American is a racist, but I do believe that the average American is vastly underinformed and undereducated about the history of race in the United States. But we are a good people, we do have a good sense of fairness and justice. And I think when the average American sees that there were two and a half centuries of slavery followed by 100 years of what would be called today domestic terrorism. What do you call lynching? What do you call the Ku Klux Klan? What do you call institutionalized white supremacy and segregation? The economic gap between black and white America that was created, fostered and maintained, not just created by slavery, but then maintained by the 100 years after that, has never been closed.

"I don't believe that the average American is a racist, but I do believe that the average American is vastly underinformed and undereducated about the history of race in the United States."

Marianne Williamson

"My third has to do with peace creation. You can't just take medicine — you have to cultivate health, and you can't just prepare for war. Our national security agenda is based primarily, almost solely, as a matter of fact, in terms of the economic comparison between the Defense Department and the State Department, on ways to prepare for war. Even Donald Rumsfeld, however, secretary of defense under George Bush said we must wage peace. General [James] Mattis, before he left the Department of Defense, said if you were not going to fully fund the State Department, 'I'm going to have to buy more ammunition.' So we need to create peace in the world much more robustly. There are four factors which we we know make a difference. Expanding economic opportunities for women, reducing violence against women, expanding educational opportunities for children and ameliorating unnecessary human suffering wherever possible."

On tax policy

"We need to repeal the 2017 tax cut. That was a $2 trillion giveaway. 83 cents of every dollar goes to the very richest individuals and corporations. I would put back, however, the middle class tax cuts. I think the middle class tax cuts were a good idea. I agree with with Elizabeth Warren about a tax on billionaires. I agree with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders when they talk about greater taxes."

On gun ownership

"The American people want universal background checks. The American people want to outlaw bump stocks. The American people want to stop making military-style assault rifles available to the average citizen. But I also think it's extremely important that people understand what has happened here. The propaganda that the gun manufacturers have created in this country, convincing so many people that their obstruction of any kind of gun safety legislation common sense gun safety legislation has anything to do with the Second Amendment."

On climate change

"First thing I do is I appoint a world class environmentalist to head the EPA. We get rid of all the chemical company executives who are heading it. The EPA becomes just a magnet for the most outstanding outstanding collection of world-class environmentalists and sustainability experts, and two things happen from there. First of all, the EPA then knows that the American president has their back. I understand fully that we have 12 years to handle this, the carbon sequestration that's necessary, the reforestation, the sustainable agriculture, the sustainable energy, the dealing with the factory farm issue in terms of the nitrous oxide and the methane. They would know that every every single power of the executive branch of the U.S. government is at their disposal. We will make this happen. Secondly, I think that I will have a role which I already will have proven — that the American people approve of, if they elect me — that the debate is over and that all of the efforts that the fossil fuel industry have made over the last however many years to obstruct our efforts to deal with this issue, they were wrong and they are wrong and it's time for the American people to see this as the greatest moral challenge of our generation."

From The Reading List

Business Insider: "Marianne Williamson is running for president in 2020. Here's everything we know about the candidate and how she stacks up against the competition."

Des Moines Register: "Marianne Williamson wants to challenge political establishment with spiritual leadership" — "Marianne Williamson, a 2020 Democratic candidate for president, started the race with a different type of fame than her rivals.

"She's affiliated with Oprah Winfrey as a spiritual leader. She has connections to other celebrities who follow her writings and talks on spirituality. She's written books with titles like 'A Year of Miracles,' 'The Healing of the Soul of America' and 'The Divine Law of Compensation.' Like President Donald Trump, her name recognition comes from outside of the political sphere.

"Williamson joins the race with a hefty dose of supporters who have long followed her non-political work. Some of those backers see her as a political outsider who can challenge the establishment.

"'I don't really see anyone else like her in the field right now,' Nora Nelson, an Ames resident, said. 'Everything has gotten so crazy, and everyone has gotten so divided ... someone like her can bring our focus back to what's important.'

Brian Hardzinski produced this segment for broadcast.

This article was originally published on April 14, 2019.

This segment aired on April 15, 2019.



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