Oprah's Spiritual Guru Running for President: 'Inviting the American People to Get Deep with Me'
Oprah's spiritual adviser launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in Iowa this evening, saying this morning that her aim is to fix the "amoral economic system" and prompt "a moral and spiritual awakening in the country."
Marianne Williamson, an activist and best-selling nonfiction writer, unsuccessfully ran for Congress in California in 2014; her campaign theme song was penned by Alanis Morissette.
"We have millions of American children live in chronic despair and trauma. We need to discuss this. We have systemic racism -- layers of systemic racism that are leftovers from slavery. We need to discuss this. And while we are good at preparing for war, we do not wage peace on the levels we need to. We need to discuss this," Williamson told CNN.
She added that being "someone to articulate what's really happening, the deeper levels of our moral dysfunction" is her "qualification for the presidency at this time."
With a platform of costly proposals such as universal healthcare, Williamson argued that "our current economic system does not lead to a vibrant economy."
"It leeches. When you have short-term profit maximizations for huge corporations as your bottom line, you're allowing market forces to replace democracy as your organizing principle for your society. You're not building a strong economy. We need to name that, see it for what it is," she said. "It is propaganda that serves a veiled aristocratic system. We want, of course, a vibrant economy in the United States. What you do is unleash the creativity and the productivity of the American people."
"...It's like an integrated model of health and healing. You need more than external remedies. You also have to address the psychological and emotional and spiritual issues that both cause disease and help ameliorate it when it occurs. We need an integrated model of politics."
Williamson is proposing a $100 billion, 10-year reparations program for African-Americans that "is not symbolic at all" but would be applied to economic and educational projects by a council.
"At the end of the civil war, General Tecumseh Sherman promised to every formerly enslaved person 40 acres and a mule. And those 40 acres and a mule would have given a formerly enslaved population an opportunity to reintegrate -- to integrate into free society," she said. "What happened instead, of course, was black code laws were passed in the American South, which ensured sub-par social and political and economic opportunities for the former slave population. This was not addressed for a hundred years until the civil rights movement. And while the civil rights movement gave Voting Rights Act although that was chipped away since 2013 and gave a lot of political opportunities that had not been there for the hundred years previous."
"It did not address the fact that we have not yet paid that debt," Williamson continued. "Germany has paid $89 billion in reparations to Jewish organizations since World War II. And Ronald Reagan signed the American Civil Liberties Act, by which we paid every surviving member who had been interned during World War II in the Japanese internment camps $22,000."
Williamson stressed that she's "not trying to figure out what to say to get people to vote for me" and "not trying to get shallow or superficial so people will hear me."
"I'm inviting the American people to get deep with me," she said. "It's time for that in order to address these times and to transform them."