Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author, lecturer and thought leader. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers.
In 1997, she published Healing the Soul of America, calling for a holistic perspective on America’s political system. The book is an insightful examination of our history and politics, offering personal and political solutions for the renewal of our democracy.
On October 20, 2013, Marianne announced her candidacy for California’s 33rd Congressional District in the race to fill Rep. Henry Waxman’s seat after his retirement.
Exclusive Interview with Marianne Williamson
Dirk Terpstra, the founder of Soul Love, spoke with Marianne about conscious politics in the United States. We believe that supporting Marianne’s mission is crucial at this point in time.
Soul Love: You are a spiritual teacher, author and lecturer and you have published ten books, including four New York Times #1 bestsellers. You are also known as a spiritual leader. You have now decided to run for Congress in California’s District 33. How has your decision been received so far and what do people think about the connection between your spiritual influence and politics?
Marianne Williamson: I don’t feel that I changed careers, I just feel that I’m taking on a conversation that I have been involved with for the last thirty years and broadening it to include national issues, international issues and political issues.
First of all, I’ve been doing this for a long time – that conversation, I wrote a book in 1997 called “Healing the Soul of America”. I think that the zeitgeist of our times is the transformation of the world and I think each of us feels called in our own way to do what we can to contribute to this transformation. People are aware that we are moving in various ways, in an unsustainable direction as a civilization.
The fact that I feel moved to run for Office is just one way that people can feel called. Some people feel called to step it up in business, some people are called to step it up in arts, some people are called to step it up in education – there is this evolutionary conversation that is uplifting everything. That conversation is not prevalent within the political domain and as a consequence, it is not surprising to me, that I, and I am sure other people as well, am feeling called to crash those particular ramparts.
Politics as we know it, at least in this country, are dominated by very entrenched, calcified thought forms that do not allow for much influence from anything outside that thought system. So, it feels the right thing to do for me, and I see a lot of heads nodding when I talk about what it means to see politics in a way that we are more than economic creatures, is proactively wage peace. We must have a more sacred connection to the earth and we must be more responsible caretakers of our democracy. I think it has been very well received. Most importantly it has been received by the heart of people because it is my heart that I am speaking from.
Soul Love: You just mentioned your book “Healing the Soul of America”, calling for a holistic perspective on America’s political system. What is the major change you have seen in the past 17 years in America?
Marianne: Well I think that although the American people are fine, in terms of the American government, I think that in many ways things have gotten worse rather than better. We are experiencing a kind of corporate takeover really, not just nationally but globally. Multinational corporations have begun to accrue power that in some cases makes them stronger than the governments of the world. This is a very serious issue, not just for my country but for the people of the world. For my country that so prides itself in the words of Abraham Lincoln of being a government of the people by the people and for the people, this is a very serious transition into a government of a few of the people by a few of the people and for a few of the people. That is not democracy, that is really the reversion to an aristocratic paradigm and we repudiated an aristocracy 200 hundred years ago and I think there is a real need to repudiate an aristocracy again.
Soul Love: You have said: “A Nation is as sick as its secrets: Deep inquiry is necessary to heal a country.” How will you contribute to heal your country? It seems that we need a serious pattern interruption in order to move towards more conscious politics.
Marianne: I think that there are many situations that occur in the United States that the average American does not realize. We are decent people like everybody else. We are compassionate people like everybody else. The problem that we have is between the passion of the American people and the behavior of the US government. For instance, I don’t believe the average American realizes that among all advanced nations of the world, the United States has the second highest child poverty rate. We are second only to Romania. I don’t think the average American realizes that we have among all nations of the world the highest mass incarceration rate. We have 2.4 million people incarcerated, compared to 300,000 in the 1970’s. An African American man today has a one in three lifetime probability of incarceration.
I think these are our dirty little secrets, the fact that we have a permanent war economy, the fact that the government has given to itself extraordinary legal rights that it never had in the past, including the right to indefinitely detain US citizens. I just think that there are so many things where Americans have been in a reverie, as a friend of mine put it the other day. Sir Winston Churchill once said “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing once they have exhausted every other option.”
I think that probably people from all over the world roll their eyes at Americans, how can we be so distracted and disengaged at times, but at the same time you would also agree that many of those same people would acknowledge that when we do wake up we slam it like nobody’s business. We tend to be asleep longer than everybody else, but boy when we wake up, we are an awakening giant and I think that is what is happening today. I think Americans are realizing that some of these dirty little secrets are not secrets anymore and enough things are coming up. Whether it’s the NSA spying or the Trans Pacific Partnership or the National Defense Authorization Act or the fact that we can’t fight GMO’s because Monsanto won’t let us, we can’t adequately address climate change because the oil companies won’t let us, we can’t have Universal healthcare because the health insurance companies and pharmaceuticals won’t let us. People are starting to wake up. We are just beginning to hit critical mass. Be patient with us. I think the heart of the American people is about to reassert itself.
Soul Love: I fully agree with you, but at the same time, this country is deep “in the red” and America depends on the money it makes from weapon production, the money it makes from the oil production and the money it makes from the GMO developments, so how realistic is your view?
Marianne: I don’t know how good it will be for anybody to be rich if the nuclear bomb goes off so I think more people are realizing that there are other issues besides money. When you talked about the bottom line being the short term economic gain for the company, your point actually proves my point which is why corporations should not run the world. Short term economic gain for the shareholders within a particular business context is appropriate. It is not appropriate paradigm for running a country. We are not a business and we should not be run like a business. We have children here who have no financial leverage and if you only say that those with financial leverage serving their own bottom line get to influence our policies, where does that lead people who do not have financial leverage? Where does that lead children for instance who do not work? That is why to me the bottom line issue, the main corruptor, and it is a corrupting influence at this point, is the undue influence of money on our political functioning and that’s why the cornerstone of my platform is getting money out of politics.
Soul Love: In your bestselling book “Return to Love” you write: We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? How insecure is this nation?
Marianne: We are a Nation of about 300 million people. We are not a monolith so when you ask “how insecure we are”, I think that the American people are not insecure. The American people are spunky. The main characterological trait of Americans has been well demonstrated in a test recently and our young people scored bottom on everything compared to every other nation academically, but the one thing they scored highest on was self-esteem. However we like ourselves, I don’t think that our problem as Americans is we lack self-esteem. However, our government has absolutely been behaving like a paranoid bully for a very long time now.
Soul Love: Yes, the government has of course a lot of influence on the behavior of the nation.
Marianne: I think that our leadership’s response after 9/11 was very unfortunate because 9/11 could have been such an opportunity for making Americans wiser. Wiser as a society, more loving as a society and much more mature and conscious as a society and I think that the first 2 or 3 days after 9/11 you could feel that. People wanted to know about our foreign policy, why do people hate us so much. People really wanted to know, but our government at the time told everybody “don’t worry about it, just go shopping and keep the economy going”. That was very dangerous because we became vulnerable to ideological capture neoconservative forces in this country who would have us think that the only problem here is that there are all these horrible people out to get us. It messes with your mind after a while and it messes with the national psyche. I am not saying we should not have appropriate defense, but the mentality of paranoia and the mentality of aggression that can come from that paranoia is unhealthy in any individual and it is unhealthy in the nation.
Soul Love: Soon you might become a congress woman in District 33. What are your top goals?
Marianne: My goals have to do with broadening the conversation around our need to repudiate the undue influence of money on our politics. I see that as the underlying cancer, the issue underlying all the other issues. What we think of ‘the issues’ are derivative and we need to do more than just address the symptoms. We have to address the disease and the disease is the fact that we have become a system of legalized corruption and bribery because the money forces are able to wield and influence on the functioning of our government. A government that is so completely disproportionate to the influence that is wielded by the average citizen. We had a very terrible civil war. Many hundreds of thousands of people died and on the Battle of Gettysburg, where tens of thousands of men died what we can only assume to have been horrific deaths, our President Abraham Lincoln stood on that battlefield and said that those men have not died in vain. They have died so that the government of the people and by the people and for the people would not perish from the earth. What our government has now transitioned into is a government of a few of the people, by a few of the people, for a few of the people. If we are as we are now, a generation who watch making a mockery of the Gettysburg address, that is a very serious issue which will be passionately discussed and that is why I am ready for Congress.
Soul Love: How well does the Constitution of the United States support your mission and is an amendment needed to be able to reach your goals?
Marianne: Your question about an amendment is certainly reasonable. It took an amendment to the Constitution to abolish slavery. It took an amendment to the Constitution to give women suffrage. I personally believe, as do many others, that it will take an amendment of the Constitution to outlaw the undue influence of money and to establish that corporations do not have the right to personhood.
Soul Love: As we all know, money is the driver behind this process of getting elected. If you don’t have private wealth or access to wealth, how do you get the financial backing that is needed for the entire process?
Marianne: Particularly in a case like mine which is a grassroots campaign, I have announced publicly I am not taking special interest money, lobbyist money and so forth. In my case, the fact that I have 400,000 people on Facebook and 200,000 on Twitter is what makes me believe that enough people are in my social media universe and if enough people give me five dollars I would be able perhaps to do this and I have raised enough money to be a credible campaign.
The issue now is am I able to raise enough money to be a competitive campaign in these last three months before the primary on June 3rd where paid media is absolutely essential. We have over 400,000 people who are registered voters in my District, so the issue is, will you be able to get enough in terms of direct mail and television and advertising to be able to reach enough of those voters. You know, because until money is out, money is in. LA obviously is probably the most expensive media market in the country. It is quite a challenge but well worth the effort.
Soul Love: It seems that you have made a very solid case. What can our readers do to support you in achieving your goals?
Marianne: The first thing is just the positive energy, the very thought, the blessing, the beneficent upliftment that is first and foremost. Secondly, only American citizens can donate financially, but even people who are not American citizens and have Facebook and Twitter can help get the word out. In today’s world you can help get the word out from New Delhi as much as from Minnesota.
And number three, a lot of people know people, even if they are not American, who live in the United States. I believe that if everybody whose heart resonates with the kind of thing we are talking about here, that humanitarian, not economic value, should order our civilization, but we need a politics of conscience and a new bottom line. I think if everybody really responded to that, heard it and gave five dollars, we would have the resources necessary. Many people feel “what can my ten dollars do, what can my twenty dollars do” but the answer is “A lot!”.
Soul Love: Do you have a final message for our readers?
Marianne: I think that a lot of times people say I am not involved with politics because it is a low conscious business. However, my message here is that you cannot be selectively conscious, you cannot be selectively awake, you cannot say “I am awake about food and the planet and the environment and everything but politics. There is no serious spiritual path which gives anyone a pass on addressing the suffering of other beings and that is what we are really talking about in politics. We are talking about unnecessary human suffering that occurs throughout the world because of reckless and irresponsible behavior on the part of governments who are mainly driven by money.
In the United States, all the great social justice movements have been driven by spiritual communities: Abolitionist Movement emerged from the Quakers, much of the women’s suffrage movements emerged from the Quakers and of course the civil rights movement emerged from Dr. Martin Luther King, a preacher in Atlanta and the southern Christian Leadership Conference.
This idea that somehow spirituality does not have any roll in politics just belies the truth of American history. Not only have we always had something to do with it, we have always been the foundation of all the great social justice movements. When you dwell within yourself in a spiritual perspective which is nothing other than a path of the heart, you have the capacity to stand with conviction that certain things are simply wrong and you stand on that and that gives you what Mahatma Gandhi called “Soul Force”. Equally as strong is that if you have a spiritual perspective that you know that the improbable is imminently feasible – that which is not yet shall be and can be, should enough people pour our hearts into making it so. That is tremendous power. That is spiritual power. It is not just power to change our hearts. That is the spiritual power that gives us the opportunity to change the world! The social potential here is huge.
For more information, please visit Marianne’s website: Marianne.com
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER