After the first Democratic Presidential Debate, Marianne Williamson generated a lot of interest.
On the one hand, her name ended up being the most searched on the internet. With language and demeanor vastly different from the other candidates, people wanted to know who she might be.
On the other hand, Williamson generated a good deal of ridicule. Seth Meyers joked that she clearly won’t be around this fall. Ha ha; who would be so foolish as to think otherwise! Kate McKinnon (pictured above) offered a woo-woo Williamson impression that had Marianne eliminating global problems by burning all the sage on the planet. TYT’s Brooke Thomas dismissed Marianne as a “vanity candidate” intent merely on selling her books.
All of that was itself laughable for those who know Marianne Williamson. We know she’s not a woo-woo lightweight; she doesn’t need to sell more books; and if people understand just who she is and grasp her fundamental message, she’ll definitely be around this fall.
And that’s because her absolutely radical approach to politics supplies the simple key we’ve all been looking for to solve the endless problems on our national list, be it climate change, the threat of nuclear war, terrorism, or immigration.
Let me repeat: her approach offers a key far more radical and easily understood than anything Bernie or Elizabeth even imagines or dares to say.
The key I’m referencing is basic to the teaching of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), which has been the guidebook for Marianne’s life and teaching for more than 40 years. Williamson herself describes the course as basic Christian mysticism. It’s not a religion; it’s not for everyone; it doesn’t even demand belief in God. However, it does respond to the universal human quest for ethical principle and spiritual meaning, whether the quest is understood as generated by God, Yahweh, Allah, Krishna, the Buddha, Ultimate Reality, the Ground of Being, Life Itself, or Nature with a capital “N.”
But what about that key I mentioned?
It’s simply this: take 100% responsibility for your problems and deal with them accordingly.
That’s it. And, though difficult to actually implement, that assumption of complete responsibility will go a long way towards eliminating not only personal and inter-personal problems, but all our political conundrums as well.
How radical is that?
It’s the opposite, of course, from the approach of Mr. Trump – and even of Marianne’s colleagues on the debate stage. In contrast to Marianne, every one of them adopts the standard cliched and stereotyped approach so familiar to all of us in our personal lives: I’m not the problem; she is; he is; they are.
In political terms it’s refugees, immigrants, people of color, welfare cheats, unprovoked “terrorists,” the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Somalis, Libyans, Syrians, MS-13 gang members, and drug dealers. The list goes on and on and on. All of those included must be punished, subjected to sanctions, bombed, droned, or killed.
But we never find fault in ourselves. Never!
Pertinently and most recently, such unwillingness to accept responsibility was expressed by President Trump in his racist harangue against Congressional Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Presley, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC). According to Mr. Trump all four representatives outrageously blame the United States the problems of terrorism, Palestinian oppression, public misinformation, and immigration problems. Here’s what Trump and his audience ridiculed as patently ludicrous:
- Ilhan Omar “attacked our country” saying that terrorism is a reaction to our involvement in other people’s affairs. She even blamed the United States for the crisis in Venezuela!
- Rashida Talib said that members of congress who support Israel have forgotten what country they represent.
- Ayana Presley alleged that “ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country.”
- AOC compared U.S. border agents to Nazis running concentration camps and claimed that inmates in the camps were forced to drink water from toilets.
To such accusations, Trump’s followers bellowed loud dissent. How could anyone possible accuse Americans of ignorance, of terrorism, of supporting Global South coups, or of maintaining concentration camps or at our border, or of facilitating them in Gaza? After all, (in Mr. Trump’s words) we are the “greatest force for peace and justice in the world.”
But, Williamson and ACIM implicitly ask, what if every one of those accusations is true? What if terrorism is largely blowback? What if the United States has indeed routinely undermined governments in the former colonies, including Venezuela? What if members of Congress generally appear more loyal to Israel than to their constituents? What if many Americans are indeed ignorant, and if those cages on our border – those baby prisons and child detention facilities – are actually concentration camps?
If we seriously entertained those possibilities, dealing with the problems in question would involve change – not principally on the part of our designated enemies – but on our own part. (Imagine that!) It would compel us to terminate uninvited involvement in the affairs of other nations. It would have us cease and desist, for instance, from regime change strategies, from support of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and from abusing children by separating infants from their mothers.
In theological terms as understood in ACIM, accepting 100% responsibility for the world’s problems would involve:
- Prioritizing the world as God created it, belonging to everyone and perfect before humans appeared – without borders, which (though useful for commerce and travel) are not part of the Love’s unchallengeable order
- Admitting that we are not an exceptional nation – or as ACIM puts it: No one is special, while everyone is special
- Forgiving those we habitually blame – meaning treating them exactly as we would like to be treated
- Realizing that no one is attacking us without provocation
- Yet being willing to treat genuine criminality (e.g. as represented by those cages on the border or by the 9/11 attacks) with humanely retributive imprisonment (and/or impeachment)
Put more practically (according to the points distinguishing Williamson’s platform from that of others who also advocate the Green New Deal, etc.), admitting our responsibility for the world’s problems entails:
- Paying reparations especially to African Americans, but also to indigenous tribes and to the countries our unprovoked regime-change wars have destroyed.
- Creating a cabinet-level Department of Children and Youth intent on making our schools “palaces of learning” and our libraries “temples of literature and art”
- Funding a Department of Peace at the same level as the so-called Defense Department
Imagine a world in which we took 100% responsibility for climate change, nuclear disarmament, immigration, and all the other problems represented by those we habitually blame. Imagine a president using her bully pulpit to set a constructive national tone (vs. the destructive tone set by Mr. Trump) and helping us all to accept 100% responsibility not only for the world’s problems but for our personal conflicts as well. What would happen to our marriages, to our families, to our local communities?
Answers to those musings constitute the reasons why Marianne Williamson, far from deserving ridicule, is the very candidate our country needs.
P.S. Watch how Marianne knocked it out of the park on Colbert last Monday night:
6 thoughts on “Marianne Williamson: The U.S. Is 100% Responsible for the World’s Problems!”
I learned Williamson’s version of responsibility in John Enright’s ARC seminar in 78/79. He learned it as the first non-addict participant in the Synanon “stew” where he was the one who needed to learn responsibility.
As he taught it, it goes like this: imagine you are lying down in the road enjoying the sunlight, for whatever reason. You hear a steamroller but figure the driver will stop. The driver doesn’t see you, and runs over you. Who is responsible? The answer is: whoever has the capacity to change the outcome is 100% responsible. As the most wealthy nation on Earth, we have the capacity to change an awful lot of awful. And there it is.
Read Caitlin Johnstone’s piece on Williamson, including my comments –
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Caitlin Johnstone’s assessment of Marianne Williamson is just about perfect. Williamson is clearly the most decent person to seriously run for president in recent decades. She puts the Clintons and even Obama to shame. She is – as I see it – weak on Julian Assange, Russiagate, and Medicare For All. Also, she doesn’t support BDS, and she lacks government experience. But in every other way she is near perfect. To hear a candidate base her positions on love is music to my ears.
Williamson is my third choice after Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. After that there is for me a drop to Elizabeth Warren. I have serious reservations about all the rest.
Thanks for sharing Caitlin Johnstone’s article. I find it so interesting that Marianne is generating all that interest on the part of supporters and detractors. As they say, any publicity is good publicity – just spell my name right. Johnstone’s take seemed fair to me. However, after listening to Marianne for years and having read a number of her books, I’m not sure where the “endlessly mockable” part comes from or the similar characterization of Marianne’s language as “all woo-woo and hippiestastic.” Still, I agree that Ms. Williamson can roll with it all; and that’s refreshing. As for Marianne’s policy positions, like Johnstone, I find that some of them (like health care, Julian Assange and the BDS movement) hue too closely to a middle line that gets lost in the typical “boring beige sludge” of standard U.S political discourse. Also, Johnstone’s suggestion that abandoning ACIM’s “love vs. fear duality” in favor of “life vs. death” might be more compelling to voters. Like Johnstone, I’m obviously glad Marianne’s become a thing.
Sounds like Williamson understands US politics and its effects better than most US politicians. Some sense at last.
I believe she does, Peter. I’m also hoping against hope that she’ll somehow prevail. Tomorrow Peggy and I will be attending the second Democratic debate in Detroit. We’re going to be part of a rally on Marianne’s behalf. She’s asking for a paradigm shift that most don’t seem prepared for.