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Marianne Deborah Williamson (1952–) is an American New Age self-help guru and author who worked for Oprah Winfrey. She was one of the candidates for the 2020 Democratic primaries, though she has little political experience. Her previous run for office was in 2014, when she ran for the US House of Representatives, coming in 4th place. Nevertheless, she did this because she believes that the United States needed a moral and spiritual awakening. She joined the primary on January 29, 2019. She gained a big following on Reddit by capitalizing on the meme culture surrounding it. Initially, her Reddit subscribers totaled only 36, but it ballooned to around 2,400 after the Democrat debate. Additionally, after the debates, she became the top searched candidate on Google for two nights. Though she holds several reasonable left-wing views, such as supporting Medicare for All, DACA, the Green New Deal, taking climate change seriously, and tuition-free college, while also believing she can counter Donald Trump's culture of fear with love, she also holds problematic views including anti-vaccine views and some New Age bullshit (some of which appear to bolster her anti-corporatist and anti-elite views). She also had no clear policy plans, though she outlined some of her ideas on her campaign site.
New Age blather
Williamson, like Trump, is a self-help guru, but Trump intends to help only himself. Trump's stated inspiration is from Norman Vincent Peale, one of the progenitors of the prosperity gospel. But Williamson herself has also promoted prosperity gospel beliefs in her 2012 book The Law of Divine Compensation:
“”To whatever extent your mind is aligned with love, you will receive divine compensation for any lack in your material existence. From spiritual substance will come material manifestation. This is not just a theory; it is a fact.
It doesn't help that she has spouted anti-vaccine tropes.
Each of us is pregnant with a better version of ourselves.
Imagine yourself pregnant with a better version of yourself. You spent long enough with the old you. You can download an upgrade. #fb
A wisdom culture is emerging from the imaginal cells of a disintegrating individualistic society. We're pregnant with the possible world.
Every soul on earth is pregnant now with a new possibility. Do you have the courage to face your fear and give it birth within yourself?
Anti-vaccine views and other pseudoscientific views
Williamson, while not hard-core anti-vaccine, appears to be at least sympathetic to the anti-vaccine movement, a soft-core anti-vaxxer. Williamson believes that vaccine mandates are "Orwellian" and "draconian". She has compared vaccine mandates to abortion, saying that the mandates interfere with what people want to do with their bodies. Appeal to personal choice is a common anti-vaccine refrain that neglects children's health, and, newsflash, measles don't care about principles of bodily autonomy. Furthermore, people in general, especially immunocompromised ones, don't really like having diseases spread to them.
She later walked back on those remarks, though she still does not take a strong stance against the movement by stating something along the lines of "I think vaccines save lives but concerns about drugs are valid because Big Pharma" and believing that public safety has to be balanced with personal choice ("individual choice" again, is a common anti-vaccine buzz word and neglects those that don't have that luxury: children, people who were previously infected with measles and chicken pox and have to suffer long-term damage after the disease is gone, and immunocompromised people). She also, back in 2011, made a vague post in Facebook: "I understand the controversial aspects of vaccinations, and I share many of the concerns". During a 2015 segment with Bill Maher, she said that she believes that the "skepticism" is healthy and that while vaccines do protect against measles, she is rather concerned about the "overload" of vaccines ("too many, too soon" gambit by anti-vaxxers) and how Big Pharma apparently covers up results of studies of vaccines they don't like.
Williamson doesn't like glyphosate, believing that it can cause cancer (no evidence has been shown to establish a link) and that it helps Monsanto. This is despite Monsanto's patent for glyphosate having expired in 2000. And since she links to Center for Food Safety, a site that heavily promotes GMO labeling, we're predicting that her views on GMOs aren't really stellar either.
- Official campaign website
- Here are some true — and maybe true — statements about Marianne Williamson by Alexandra Petri (June 28, 2019) The Washington Post
- For the record, she states to be 100% pro-choice. She does bolster that view with nonsense, believing that it's up to the woman "according to the dictates of her conscience and in communion with the God of her understanding." She does, however, believe it is morally repugnant that poor women need to seek the modern equivalent of back-alley abortions if abortion gets banned.
- Meet Marianne Williamson, spiritual guru, friend of Oprah Winfrey and 2020 presidential candidate ABC News. Feb 11, 2019.
- Marianne Williamson Ballotpedia.
- Yadidi, N. (February 28, 2019). Marianne Williamson on the issues, in under 500 words. Axios. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
- Bowden, J. (January 29, 2019). Author Marianne Williamson running for 2020 Dem nomination The Hill. 01/29/19.
- Gerken, T. (July 1, 2019). Marianne Williamson: Presidential hopeful winning Reddit votes. BBC. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
- Williamson, M. (June 28, 2019). Marianne Williamson most searched on Google for night two of the Democratic debate. The Hill. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
- Medicare for All: Where 2020 Dems stand The Hill. 03/28/19.
- "The corporate/political elite represent a mindset that’s an inadequate container for insights and energy necessary to navigate the times in which we live. #bigtruth" by Marianne Williamson (10:26 AM - 1 Jul 2019) Twitter. (archived from August 15, 2019).
- In a Bid to Exhaust Me Personally, Marianne Williamson Shares Anti-Vaccine Misinformation on Facebook: In an especially bald pander to the anti-vaccine community, Williamson claimed vaccines require further safety studies and raised concerns about something called "neurons-toxins." by Anna Merlan (Dec 6 2019, 12:03pm) Vice.
- A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles] by Marianne Williamson (1992) HarperCollins. ISBN 0060163747.
- For Marianne Williamson and Donald Trump, religion is all about themselves: The conviction that you can shape the world with your mind is an American tradition. by Tara Isabella Burton (August 1, 2019) The Washington Post.
- The Pastor Who Helps Explain Donald Trump by Paul Matzko (April 19, 2017) The Gospel Coalition (archived from August 1, 2019).
- The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles by Marianne Williamson (2012) HarperOne. ISBN 0062205412.
- Just beneath the surface, this isn't politics it's black magic. Entirely a psychic battle. Use your shield of Virtue and your sword of Truth by Marianne Williamson (06:48 - 31. Jan. 2017) Twitter (archived from April 26, 2019).
- Everyone feels on some level like an alien in this world, because we ARE. We come from another realm of consciousness, and long for home. by Marianne Williamson (16:18 - 10. Dec. 2011) Twitter (archived from April 26, 2019).
- God is BIG, swine flu SMALL. See every cell of your body filled with divine light. Pour God's love on our immune systems. Truth protects. by Marianne Williamson (13:50 - 30. Apr. 2009) Twitter (archived from April 26, 2019).
- Each of us is pregnant with a better version of ourselves. by Marianne Williamson (23:15 - 7 aug. 2012) Twitter (archived from April 29, 2019).
- Yin is feminine, earth; yang is masculine, sky. When God is seen as He, the soul is seen as She. Just archetypes. Spirit impregnates soul. by Marianne Williamson (05:44 - 20. Mai 2009) Twitter (archived from April 26, 2019).
- Imagine yourself pregnant with a better version of yourself. You spent long enough with the old you. You can download an upgrade. #fb by Marianne Williamson (20:54 - 2. Oct. 2009) Twitter (archived from April 26, 2019).
- A wisdom culture is emerging from the imaginal cells of a disintegrating individualistic society. We're pregnant with the possible world. by Marianne Williamson (07:56 - 14. May 2012) Twitter (archived from April 26, 2019).
- Every soul on earth is pregnant now with a new possibility. Do you have the courage to face your fear and give it birth within yourself? by Marianne Williamson (12:31 - 22. Apr. 2009) Twitter (archived from April 26, 2019).
- 2020 candidate Marianne Williamson apologizes for calling vaccine mandates ‘Orwellian’ by Matt Pearce (Jun 20, 2019 | 8:35 AM) Los Angeles Times.
- Williamson, M. (June 26, 2019). Make your voice heard!! Tell the EPA to ban the herbicide glysophate, the main ingredient in Roundup. It is a dangerous carcinogenic. Good for Monsanto's profits but bad for our bodies and our planet. by Marianne Williamson (7:20 AM - 26 Jun 2019) Twitter (archived from June 30, 2019).