The presidential candidate — who declared that America should “outlaw assault weapons and the bullets needed to shoot them" in the wake of a mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, that killed 7 people — spoke to the New York Times Magazine on Tuesday, about her surprising run for president.
Writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner trailed the 67-year-old candidate to New Castle, N.H., where she campaigned in July and told an audience member, who asked for advice on healing from Trump’s presidential election, “Your personal anger depletes you. Trump isn’t the problem. The system of complacency is the problem,” while urging “Don’t hate Trump. Love democracy.”
Williamson, a former cabaret singer and minister of a Detroit Unity church, told the New York Times that running for president wasn’t originally an ambition of hers. Although in 2014, she ran for congressional office as an independent, the Times notes, she only “learned of her presidential candidacy” in 2017, while watching President Trump on television in her New York City apartment.
“The thought came to me in such a clear and powerful way,” she told the paper. “It was almost as though I could hear the spirit of my late father: ‘This must not go unanswered.’”
The author, who after dropping out of Pomona College in California, published 13 books and appeared on Oprah as a spiritual advisor, shared with the Times that entering the presidential race as an outsider was jarring.
Since Williamson announced her run in January, she’s been ruthlessly mocked for her past and present comments. At a June event in New Hampshire, she claimed that mandatory vaccine laws are “Draconian” and “Orwellian” (she later insisted, “I’m pro-vaccination, I’m pro-medicine, I’m pro-science”). She had also declared diagnosed depression "a scam" (of which she afterward admitted was "wrong of me to say") and was called a fat-shamer in her 2012 book, A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever.
In July, Williamson tweeted, “Misrepresentations of my work are in high gear this morning, so just in case it need be said: I am not anti-vaxx. I am pro-science & medicine. I’ve never suggested to anyone they should pray away their illness & not see a doctor. I’ve never blamed a victim nor fat-shamed anyone.”
Misrepresentations of my work are in high gear this morning, so just in case it need be said: I am not anti-vaxx. I am pro-science & medicine. I’ve never suggested to anyone they should pray away their illness & not see a doctor. I’ve never blamed a victim nor fat-shamed anyone.— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) July 17, 2019
However, the past eight months hasn’t dissuaded her from running. As Williamson told the New York Times, “People would say, ‘You’re out of your depth.’ I feel I’m in my depth. A deeper conversation is in the depth. I’m the only one who mentioned American foreign policy in Latin America. I’m the only one who mentioned that our health care system is basically a sickness care system. I’m the only one who mentioned what Donald Trump is actually doing, collectivizing fear, and what it will take to override that. So was I out of my depth? Or is the conversation that was being promoted there not chronically superficial? And any conversation which is in fact of depth is made to appear silly?”
Williamson is surely ready for a new onslaught of attacks. On Monday, one day before Walmart announced a plan to stop selling "short-barrel rifle ammunition” and handgun ammunition and to cease handgun sales in Alaska following the Odessa mass shooting, Williamson criticized a political system dependent on the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“It is not just our gun policy but our politics that fails to free us of this insanity,” she wrote in the Washington Post. “Until we override the nefarious influence of money on our politics, it will not be possible to break the National Rifle Association’s chokehold on our society.”
She later wrote, “America does not just have a gun crisis; it has a cultural crisis. America will not stop experiencing the effects of gun violence until we’re ready to face the many ways that our culture is riddled with violence.”
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