Monday, April 1, 2019

2020 Challenger Lineup: Marianne Williamson

UPDATE: Uh oh, Marianne is an anti-vaxxer. That gets you an automatic F.

No, this is not an April Fool's joke. I was on the fence about profiling Marianne Williamson because she seems like she could be more of a fringe candidate than anyone serious, but it turns out that I really like her politics, and she's another woman running for president, so you know what, let's do this.

Marianne Williamson is described on Wikipedia as a "spiritual teacher, author, lecturer, entrepreneur, and activist." Her spiritual teachings are non-religious. She has no direct political experience other than an unsuccessful for a California state House of Representatives seat in 2014. She got into politics due to what she called a "toxic brew of shrinking civil liberties and expanded corporate influence are poisoning our democracy." One of her books was featured on Oprah. That last thing is not really good or bad to me but it's there.

Williamson is also Jewish and older than she looks. She is 66. Also not good or bad to me, but age can and does inform politics.

In some ways, Williamson is like the anti-Trump. She's not a "career politician" but instead of a legacy as an obnoxious, gross failed businessman, she has a legacy as a successful founder of multiple charities. Two of these were in response to the AIDS crisis of the 80s, providing food, refuge, support, and counseling to HIV/AIDS patients.

In 2004, she founded the Peace Alliance because she is an anti-war activist. The idea of an anti-war president is very interesting to me. My only concern is that it sounds like she might be too eager to get all up in people's business rather than letting the people in their own countries solve their own problems the way only they can know how. But I might be reading into her statements too much.

In 2010, she launched her Sister Giant conferences across the U.S. to encourage people (especially women) to get into activism and run for office. Issues discusses at these conferences have included "child poverty, low levels of female representation in office, campaign finance reform, high levels of mass incarceration," etc. Good shit, Williamson.

Where it really gets interesting is her political positions. She is definitely one of the farthest to the left of all the Democratic candidates, supporting Medicare for All, a national $15 minimum wage, and the Green New Deal. But what really made me decide to profile Williamson is the fact that her answer on the reparations question is an unequivocal "yes." Last April, she wrote this:

Why we need both a national apology and reparations to heal the wounds of racism

Now, some of it does get kind of weird. It makes me think that she could never in a million years get elected with these kind of, uh, let's say "unconventional" spiritual beliefs. But fuck, man, we have Donald fucking Trump as our president right now. If this is the timeline we're stuck in, why can't we have a new-age spiritual Jewish lady as president next?

Unlike some of the more mainstream candidates, Williamson has a campaign website that lists her main issues.

She advocates for policies around children that are on my own list of "if I were queen of the world" policies. Not only does she advocate for universal pre-natal healthcare, she acknowledges that poverty is traumatic, is in favor of universal pre-K schools, affordable childcare, better education all around, and amazingly, shit like mindfulness training, anti-trauma services, and confict resolution, restorative justice, peace-creation training in schools. Plus general mental health services for children.

Addressing mental health when kids are young and trauma affects them the most because their brains are still rapidly developing? Fucking wild. By which I mean I cannot believe this is not something we've been doing forever because it might be the only way we can fix humanity, we are fucked up, people!

Additionally, she is for rehabilitation rather than punishment for crime and acknowledges that poverty is a root cause of crime, plus that our criminal justice system is racist and an extension of the U.S. institution of slavery. These are the root philosophies of the prison abolitionist movement.

She is strongly against partisan gerrymandering and Citizens United and is in favor of automatic voter registration and a national holiday for Election Day.

She says she wants to "explore student loan forgiveness." I said just recently on Twitter that this would be a slam-dunk for any Democratic candidate. She's also into the idea of free college, although she frets a bit about how it might be paid for. Maybe like every other country will free college?

One of the few clear negatives of Williamson's positions is her talk about "obesity" in her food policy. Plus calling all GMOs "corruption" in our food, which is absurd and anti-science crap. But we really do need to address the amount of antibiotics fed to our cattle because I'm afraid of a mega death virus because my middle school thought showing kids "Outbreak" was an acceptable substitute for real education and I'm traumatized.

She is definitely pro-gun control.

On her immigration policy, she starts with the "we're a nation of immigrants line," which is not true, we're a nation of some immigrants, some Native Americans, the descendants of slaves taken here against their will, and the descendants of invaders who stole this land and wiped out countless Native tribes and are continuing genocidal practices against the survivors.

BUT Williamson is for closing private and family migrant detention centers. And she wants to remove immigration barriers. But mostly, closing those awful prisons, the very idea gives me heart eyes.

She gets an A+ on gay issues, but doesn't specifically mention issues faced by trans people.

Unfortunately, in spite of being anti-war, she's still pretty pro-military. But she acknowledges the existence of the military-industrial complex and wants to use the military to build infrastructure and mediate rather than going around shooting and bombing random brown people. So that's better than most.

She's into the idea of a year of mandatory "national service," with options other than military service. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Despite her earlier "nation of immigrants" line, she has a shockingly strong pro-Native American policy lined out. It includes returning the Black Hills in South Dakota, better known as the location of Mount Rushmore, to the Sioux tribe. That is so beautiful I could cry.

She describes herself as "one hundred percent pro-choice."

She is for fully funding social security.

Looking into her economic plan, she has the same Universal Basic Income plan as Andrew Yang, but as far as I know, she has no fans among the alt-right. She's replacing Yang as my favorite.

In conclusion, Williamson's unconventional spiritual beliefs will keep her from having much of a chance as a candidate as it's an easy reason to dismiss her. But I'm about ready to say that she is the most leftist candidate and I'm glad I decided to profile her because after all I've learned, I am not a fan.

She's not perfect, and I am being picky. She gets an A-. I can't remember if anyone else has gotten a grade this high yet. Somebody might have but in light of recent revelations, I need to go back and update some of these profiles and lower some grades because SOMEONE has not denounced the alt-right yet in spite of the news that he's become their favorite Democratic candidate.

With some education, I think Williamson could get an A. Maybe even an A+. I want more attention on her right now. Immediately.

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