Marianne Williamson

Iowa State Fair Political Soapbox - Aug. 9, 2019

Marianne Williamson
August 09, 2019— Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, Iowa
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This is an extraordinary experience. And I’m very aware, particularly as a woman, that we can’t do this everywhere. I’m very aware particularly as a woman that if I said a fraction of the things that I sometimes say in critique of our government and our governmental policy, that there are countries were I might be taken off to prison, even tortured. So I’m not only very aware of the profound right that we have to say what we think, but at this point in our history I think we need to remember that we also have a profound responsibility to say what we think. I’m running for president because I think some things need to be said. And the things that I believe need to be said, or what everybody I know is saying. I believe that our politics itself is not a conduit for the energies that we need to be expressing in order to move to the next phase of our history. Politics is stuck somewhere in the 20th century. Our hearts are in the 21st century but our politics need to become more aligned with where we are as people. I don’t see a problem with the American people. I think we’re a good and decent people, I don’t think we’re any better than anybody in any other country.

We have a real problem on our hands ladies and gentlemen and that is that our politics is not currently aligned with our deep goodness. Tax policies which make it easier for rich people to get rich and harder for everybody else to even make it, that’s not aligned with our goodness. Policies that stay in place so that millions of American children live with chronic trauma, so that millions of American children go to school every day in classrooms that don’t even have the adequate school supplies with which to teach a child to read. And if a child cannot read by the age of eight, and yes those children are in Iowa too, if a child cannot read by the age of eight, the chances of highschool graduation is drastically decreased and the chances of incarceration is drastically increased. All that, our political establishment has done is to normalize the despair of these children. That means to that extent, our political establishment is not aligned with America’s goodness. We have a national security agenda which is not based solely on our legitimate security needs, but also to the tune of probably hundreds of billions of dollars above what they said that we need. We spend our money and our resources on what President Eisenhower called our “Military-Industrial Complex." So our national security agenda serves the short-term profits of defense contractors more than it served efforts to proactively wage peace. Ladies and gentlemen, there are times in our history when the political status quo is not making it happen and it’s time for the people to step in.

The political establishment did not wake up one day and say, “let’s end slavery.” No with the abolitionist movement rising up, the people stepped in. And the political establishment did not wake up one day and say, “oh let us give women the right to vote.” That’s not what happened. With the Women’s Suffrage Movement, people rose up and the people stepped in. The political establishment did not wake up one day and say, “let’s desegregate the American South.” That’s not what happened. With Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, the people rose up and the people stepped in. Now ladies and gentlemen, we have issues that are just as serious as those. We don’t have an evil institution such as slavery, an evil institution such as institutionalized oppression of women, or an evil institution such as segregation. But we have an amoral economic mindset that has corrupted our government. It as hijacked our values system and it has put us in a place as a society where we put short-term profits for health insurance companies, gun manufacturers, big pharmaceutical companies, the fossil fuel companies and defense contractors before the health and well-being of the American people. You cannot look to the conventional political establishment to fix the problem, they are the problem. It is time for the people to step in.

We were born with a rambunctious spirit, in 1776 we said to an aristocratic paradigm, we posited that only a few people were entitled. That’s what was happening in Europe before the founding of this country, only a few people were entitled to the land and only a few people were entitled to education, only a few people were entitled to wealth and wealth creation. With the founding of this country, we said no to that and it is time to say no to that again. There is a rambunctiousness to the American spirit that we the people have not lost, the American people are who we’ve always been. I see it in new generations, young generations, I see it in all of us. The American people are not the problem, the problem is that the spirit of the American people is not represented by a political establishment that has been so corrupted by huge multinational, amoral, economic forces that lead inevitably to immoral consequences. It is not the time for us to say pretty please. We have been mentally trained to ask pretty please for things that every American should expect. We have rights and we have responsibilities and I believe it is the responsibility of this generation to rise up the way other generations have risen up. Other generations had to say {expletive} no to the King of England. Other generations had to say {expletive} no to slavery. Other generations had to say {expletive} no to the suppression of women. Other generations had to say {expletive} no to the institutionalized white supremacy in the American South. It is time for you and me to say very politely, very kindly, very stylistically {expletive} no, there’s some things that must stop.

And they’re gonna tell you that the only people qualified to make this happen are them. Not the people, this is not a matter of not nice people, this is a matter of corrupt systems in this country, ladies and gentlemen. We need a fundamental pattern disruption of the political, social and economic status quo in the United States. The incremental change will not fix this and only external changes will not fix this. Look what we’re going through right now with these mass murders, look what’s happening. I’m a progressive Democrat so of course I want strong gun safety legislation and I want universal background checks, I want to outlaw bump stocks, I want to close all the loopholes, I want to renew the ban on assault weapons and I want to outlaw the manufacture of their bullets. But ladies and gentlemen, let us go deeper than that. That is a symptom, we can talk about mental health issues, even that is a symptom. We can talk about healthcare, even that is a symptom. The issue is not just how to get more mental health care, the issue is why so many people feel like they’re going nuts in America today, what’s happening? The issue is not just how to provide healthcare, the issue is why are so many Americans experiencing chronic illness at such higher rates than in other countries. And it all goes back to the same deep underlying cancers and the cancer that underlies all the other cancers is the money in our politics. The reason so many of us are sick is because of our chemical policies, our food policies, our agricultural policies, our environmental policies, and even our economic policies given how much stressed they cause. That is why so many Americans are burdened by college loans. That is why so many Americans are experiencing daily chronic economic tension and anxiety.

Ladies and gentlemen this is not going to happen differently just because we elect politicians who say we want to make your pain less. I don’t want to just say I can make your pain less, I want to challenge the underlying forces that make all that pain inevitable. But we have been trained to forget where the power lies. We have been turned into spectators and in some ways we, the American people have allowed this to happen and we have acquiesced with our own disempowerment. Donald Trump and the forces that he represents are like opportunistic infections, they couldn’t have gotten hold of us the way they have had there not been a weakened societal immune system and that’s each and every one of us. None of this is going to change on a fundamental level unless there is a rising of consciousness among the American people. We must realize that citizenship has to be an issue, has to be a part of any well lived life. Right now the political establishment looks at the American voter like you’re a poker chip. I want this many, I want this many, I want this many. You’re not a poker chip, you are the power, the power was given to We the People, is that radical? Oh you betcha, democracy is radical. Democracy is radical and love is radical and when you have an economic system that has so corrupted our government and hijacked our moral value system to put short-term profits for corporations above the health and well-being of our children. The health and well-being of our earth. The health and well-being of people around the world. The health and well-being of the future. At what point is this pattern going to be interrupted? And at what point are we going to say that it's not going to be interrupted by the people or -- I don’t want to make this about the people. You know it’s about corrupt systems it’s not about corrupt people and that’s important for us to realize. Because there are many people who work within corrupt systems who don’t even know how corrupt it is and many of the people working in the corrupt systems are trying to fight it from within. This is not about fighting people, but it is about standing up to the part of ourselves that is cynical; cynicism is just an excuse for not helping, that is whining or moaning. Ladies and gentlemen, what we’re facing in our generation is no different than what other generations have faced and that is systematic assaults on the pillars of democracy itself. We’re not the first generation to deal with this stuff, let’s just not be the first generation to wimp out on doing what it takes to put this ship back on track.

Thank you and that is why I am running for president because I believe that which is holding the deepest conversation about the things that matter. I’m not interested in a top-down leadership paradigm that’s stuck somewhere in the 20th century. To me, what a leader does is to hold a space for the brilliance of others. I’m not saying, send me to Washington and I’ll fight for you, I don’t want to go to Washington and fight for you but I want to go to Washington and co-create with you. Because what needs to happen in Washington also needs to happen in Des Moines, also has to happen throughout the state of Iowa and none of these things will change until you become the man you’re capable of being or you become the woman that you’re capable of being. All of us rise up in the way that generations before us have risen up. They didn’t have a good chance of winning. What did the abolitionists have, there was no reason to think they could abolish slavery. What did the women’s suffragettes have, there was no reason to think that they could get women's suffrage. What did the civil rights workers have there was no reason to think that they could fight off the forces of institutionalized white supremacy. They stood up, they showed up, they rose to the occasion and ladies and gentlemen so can we. We have some serious problems in this country and we’ve had serious problems in our past but let us identify with the problem solvers. That is why when it comes to something like these mass shootings, I want more than serious gun legislation, which we must have. I want more than mental health services which we must have. I also want a United States Department of Peace because I know that we must cultivate peace. You can’t just fight violence, you have to cultivate peace. You can’t just endlessly prepare for war, you have to cultivate peace. Darkness is the absence of light. You can’t just fight hate, you have to cultivate love and some of the changes have to happen inside us and some of the changes have to happen on the level of policy. But none of that will happen on the fundamental level that things need to happen if we just have a better version of same-old, same-old. Donald Trump did not create all these problems, these problems created Donald Trump. And I am not prosecuting a case against Donald Trump, I am prosecuting a case against the system that produced him. If all we do is defeat Donald Trump in 2020, those same forces are going to be back in ‘22 and they’re gonna be back in ‘24. We need to interrupt on a way more powerful level. You know there are people all over this world who roll their eyes at us. Don’t understand Americans, don’t understand how we could let things happen like what happened this last weekend. People who think that Americans are so slow to awaken. And you know what? They’re right about that. But I’ll tell you something else, if you look historically, while it is true that sometimes Americans are slow to wake up, once we do wake up we slam it like nobody’s business. I’m running for president because it is time for this generation of Americans to slam it and kick {expletive}. Thank you very much, thank you.