Author, 2020 White House hopeful Marianne Williamson makes stop in N.H.

  • Marianne Williamson is introduced to the crowd at New England College in Henniker on Tuesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Williamson is best known for her friendship with Oprah Winfrey.

  • Robyn Grant of Concord listens to 2020 White House contender Marianne Williamson at New England College. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 3/19/2019 6:10:59 PM

Author Marianne Williamson built her career providing guidance on relationships, health and work to Americans through her writing, which caught the attention of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, who calls her a “spiritual guru.”

Now, she’s hoping to apply that same knowledge in her campaign for president.

“Whether you are healing a life, or healing a nation, the same spiritual and moral and psychological principles prevail,” Williamson said, speaking to a crowd of about 50 people at New England College in Henniker on Tuesday. “All a nation is, is a group of people.”

Williamson, the author of 12 books who announced her candidacy for president in January, said she thinks about taking care of American democracy a lot like she thinks about taking care of the human body.

A healthy democracy, like a healthy body, needs to be nurtured and continually monitored over time, she said.

“You can’t take your health for granted, or you just might lose it,” she said. “You have to take care of your democracy too or if you’re not careful you just might lose it.”

Williamson said America has come very close to losing its healthy democracy. She described President Donald Trump as an “opportunistic infection” the country became exposed to because of its “weakened immune system.”

It’s important for people to take accountability for their role in creating that weakness and to work to confront it, Williamson said.

“That weakened immune system is in each and every one of us,” she said. “Our chronic disengagement, our cynicism which is just an excuse for not helping, our whining, our preciousness and our entitlement. It made it so that we didn’t realize the thieves were coming in the door.”

“If you want to transform your life, you have to take a good look at yourself. If you want to transform your life, you have to be brutally honest with yourself,” she added. “We must love with grit, with conviction.”

She said the country is currently operating under a “sociopathic economic system” that profits a small percentage of the wealthy and burdens the poor and middle class.

“It has no deep humanity to it, it has no sense of, ‘You can’t do this to people, it would be wrong to do this to people,’ ” she said. “The answer from that system is ‘Don’t tell me what’s wrong, this is about making the bottom line.’ ”

Williamson spoke about the need for Medicare for all, a higher minimum wage and affordable education.

A major reason for the dysfunction in the country is also the United States’s approach to race relations, Williamson said. Years of slavery have led to years of economic disadvantage that has kept people of color from attaining socio-economic mobility. She said there is a need for monetary reparations for ancestors of slaves.

Increased investment in care for children will also help to improve democracy by making more engaged citizens, Williamson said. She said children today are dealing with untreated trauma that is fueling the opioid crisis.

The crowd was a mix of New England College students and visitors that came to hear Williamson speak.

Robyn Grant of Concord said it was the first political event she’s ever attended.

“She’s very different and I like that. I think she cares about people, real people. She’s not negative, she focuses on what she wants to do, rather than tear people down,” Grant said. “I’m a big believer of karma and faith and that you’re supposed to treat people kindly.”

Grant said she expects Williamson to get some push back for her non-traditional approach.

“They’ll say she’s too spiritual. A presidential candidate isn’t supposed to talk about miracles,” Grant said, referencing Williamson’s book, The Age of Miracles. “That’s weird for some people.”

“I think if people are willing to think outside the box, she can really go far,” Grant added.

Williamson has never worked in politics before. She ran for Congress in 2014 as an independent in California, but lost.

In addition to being a writer, she also founded a program in 1989 called Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area.

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