Experience teaches us we have to consider the long shots
July 29, 2019 9:59 AM   Subscribe

She’s not going to be president. If she can bring anything to the table policy-wise, then great, but it sounds like she needs to lay off the Emmet Fox, or at least learn to read him in a modern context.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:44 AM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

On this day in 2015, Trump's 20% in a Quinnipiac nationwide poll of Republican voters was a big lead over Scott Walker (13%) and Jeb Bush (10%, with no one else polling above 6%).

In Quinnipiac's most recent nationwide poll of Democratic voters, Marianne Williamson polled at less than 1% (with, interestingly to me, most of that support coming from moderate/conservative older men).
posted by box at 10:46 AM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have to say that I also think she shouldn't be president. (Though I think she'd be better than our current one.)

AND I am troubled by the smarmy snarkiness that seems to be required in stories about her. As someone who works in the mental health field, and as someone who personally knows people whose lives have been saved by psychiatric medication, I nonetheless welcomed Ms. Williamson's thoughts in this "interview" about the over-medicalization of mental health by big pharma in this piece from the NY Times.

There are many many popular articles and scientific studies that suggest that anti-depressants are over-prescribed, that long-term effects are not known, and that discontinuing them is very difficult. Yet the NYT interviewer doesn't seem to want to consider whether Ms. Williamson's position might make some sense, or even be an interesting perspective. She only wants to find fault in her tweets in a kind of "gotcha-score-points" mode. Which is the kind of writing that makes me want to stop reading political coverage altogether.
posted by jasper411 at 10:54 AM on July 29, 2019 [7 favorites]

I think Marianne Williamson is bringing a lot to the table with discussion of mental health and feelings. Unfortunately it's not a lot that Americans respect or understand. In this age of constant moral failure and assault on decency, it's hard to let go of the righteous anger that propels people through a short sprint of political engagement. But that anger, even though it's treated by our society like it has some weight in our moral calculus (it shouldn't), is not enough to keep fighting through the endless marathon of political engagement that's required for lasting change. To the extent that Marianne Williamson talks about releasing anger and judgment, and succeeds in doing so she's an interesting person to have running. I don't trust her to come up with good policy or be a good president, but part of me is glad she's around if only to fight some of that tendency to get eaten up by anger that is going back and forth in between progressives and establishment left.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:23 AM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yet the NYT interviewer... Which is the kind of writing that makes me want to stop reading political coverage altogether.

Or you could just start with the NYT and see how that goes.
posted by sjswitzer at 11:34 AM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

It really bothers me when people compare her to Trump. His main personality traits are his racism, sexism, inclination to bully others, and aversion to reading or any kind of education. It's baffling to me to call a female author who's campaigning on reparations, a deeper love for our country and fellow citizens, and a healthy democracy the Trump of the left. It's a sign to me that they're after clicks, not substantive discussion.

I also don't understand why people are so eager for her to drop out and get off the debate stage when there are like 5 anonymous centrist white guys that are polling just as well filling space there. Remember who was about to get into how the US has helped create the conditions causing refugees to come to the southern border through its involvement in Latin America before she got cut off? It wasn't Tim Ryan.

She is a fringe candidate but she's one who's willing to say truths that a person who's actually worried about getting elected won't say. I honestly don't care that much what random kooky sentences she's written in her books before because she's campaigning on cultivating peace, not praying the fat away.
posted by BeginAgain at 11:38 AM on July 29, 2019 [20 favorites]

Williamson doesn't feel prayer would work on fat. Per the Slate link: In her 2010 book, A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight, she writes that fat “is a repository of twisted, distorted thoughts and feelings that didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

Moreover: On her reproductive rights page, she notes that “abortion is a moral issue” that everyone should make for themselves, with nary a mention of the fact that it’s often a medical choice, too. In her vaccine mea culpa, she noted that “public safety must be carefully balanced with the right of individuals to make their own decisions.”

I've got strong feelings, too, only they're for science.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:04 PM on July 29, 2019 [20 favorites]

I feel like these journalists are completely missing her point( and focusing on what they consider wacky statements) - which is about how our government makes decisions. Our government makes decisions based on fear and scarcity and those feelings generate hate and divisiveness. We need a wall because people are coming to take stuff from us because we don’t have enough - when really we do have enough, we just choose to give the rich tax breaks and spend our money on wars that we start. I think her point is that if governments (which is us) make decisions based on love, we would thrive. If we made decisions based on love, we would feed our children. We would fund free education for college students. We would provide for our homeless. We would have racial and lgbqt equality. We would have equal access healthcare. We would support our industry and our farmers. We would not support Saudi Arabia committing genocide against Yemen and we wouldn’t participate in arms sales that support that. If we distributed our money based on love, we wouldn’t be in 3 or 4 simultaneous wars. We would have a military for defense but not offense. We would have reparations for descendants of slaves. If we loved ourselves and our world, we wouldn’t strip away rules allowing polluting our water and our air . We wouldn’t leave that mess for our kids and grandkids to choke on and clean up.

I actually support many of the current candidates, but I think she is important because of the ideas and conversation she is bringing to the table. The same way Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have influenced and shaped the conversation about how our government should operate. They introduced new ideas.
I know this is easier said than done because I am often filled with hate and apathy . But she is saying that if we don’t change HOW and on what our government (we ) base our decisions on, we will just keep going down this same spiral.
posted by gt2 at 1:08 PM on July 29, 2019 [10 favorites]

She seems to be attempting to use the Democratic party's internal election process as a platform to raise her personal profile and sell books in the same way that multiple male Republican candidates were during the previous election. A grift couched in leftist language is still a grift. Same as Yang, I wonder what she's done to further her ambitious professed goals as a private citizen - I can't see it.
posted by Selena777 at 1:37 PM on July 29, 2019 [12 favorites]

Twitter thread of pages from her book "A Return to Love" including a passages where she says "AIDS, for instance, can be thought of as 'Angels-in-Darth Vader-Suits'", "Sickness is an illusion and does not actually exist, " and "When the cure for AIDS is finally found, we will give prizes to a few scientists, but many of us will know that millions and millions of prayers helped it happen."

I wish the people who did the AIDS humor zine Diseased Pariah News were still alive to roast her. (some content at link NSFW.) (Previously)
posted by larrybob at 3:29 PM on July 29, 2019 [27 favorites]

Wow that's some deep crazy. This is what I get for ignoring the fringe I guess.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:38 PM on July 29, 2019

Kind of a thin article, but a great opportunity to reaffirm that Marianne Williamson is an idiot. Her books should be recycled for toilet paper. Her every word should be ignored, including the articles and pronouns. Her campaign should have made her a laughingstock. If you meet someone who has given her money, you should assume they are dangerously foolish in other ways. Having read about half of the regrettable introduction to Return to Love, I assure the reader that if she is "Pro-feelings," they are a subset of very simplistic and immature feelings.

Marianne Williamson is the only one of the Democratic "candidates" who might actually make an even worse president than the current idiot.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:47 PM on July 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

I'm mostly with gt2 about this. I'm fully aware that she would make a terrible president, but I think the idea that maybe just a tiny bit of her idea that we need to refocus our government on Love could gain some traction... having those seeds planted would make it a worthwhile effort.

I have a strong faith in the ability for truly understanding what Love means and encompasses to utterly transform individuals, communities, and even possibly the world. It's a total pipe dream, to think that every person on the planet would have a moment of regarding the world with love all simultaneously in a way which manifested in a fundamental change in humanity's most basic culture...

I mean, it's one hell of a vision. And if I have to buy nearly 8 billion Cokes and teach everyone I give one to to sing... well, I don't have that kind of money or time. But maybe believing in the transformative power of love could be contagious. Everyone I know who believes it has seen it happen, to maybe one person, or a couple of them, or maybe to a couple, or maybe even to a group gathered for a weekend... It just isn't seen that often. Shame that. Maybe seeds could be planted to have people see it more often. Maybe.
posted by hippybear at 8:08 PM on July 29, 2019

I also don't understand why people are so eager for her to drop out and get off the debate stage when there are like 5 anonymous centrist white guys that are polling just as well filling space there.

I'm eager for all of them to be out too. There's only 6-7 even plausibly viable candidates, and the only value anyone else in the field has is either to highlight a particular issue and force one of those legitimate candidates to respond to a concern they might not otherwise have to; or to take a swing at one of the front-runners like Castro did to Beto and see how they defend it. Marianne isn't really doing either of those things, and neither are Ryan, Hickenlooper, or the other 4-7 (who can even keep track?) centrist white guys. There's no rationale for any of them to be in to begin with, much less past these first couple "anything goes" debates before we get down to brass tacks.

Also I have a legitimately hard time distinguishing between Williamson's brand of "love" and Corey Booker's same "love" imagery. Both are equally undefined in terms of what that would actually look like were either of them to win, and both sound equally deluded and phony to me.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:22 PM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I mean it sounds nice but a society organized around "love" was basically the whole thing Jesus was trying to get at if we're to believe the Christian scripture - turns out people just interpret that however they want and just keep on being horrid shits the second they get any power over each other.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:05 AM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Also Cory Booker has been an activist for pretty much his whole adult life, has a bunch of actual political experience, and was a super socially-liberal senator who helped pass a ton of groundbreaking legislation; I don't think it's reasonable to lump him in with the boring centrist douchebags or with Williamson, even if the rhetoric uses some of the same words.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:13 AM on July 30, 2019 [9 favorites]

Wasn’t Williamson the first candidate in this cycle to call for reparations? If so, there you go. Introducing ideas into the discourse that would otherwise go ignored by mainstream candidates.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:27 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I mean, it's one hell of a vision. And if I have to buy nearly 8 billion Cokes and teach everyone I give one to to sing... well, I don't have that kind of money or time. But maybe believing in the transformative power of love could be contagious.

Again, as people have pointed out, when she talks about "the transformative power of love" this is what she means: https://twitter.com/azrtairne/status/1155366459264118784

People who are aware of who she is don't look askance at her because she's not mainstream, or because she has new ideas, but because she's a monster who speaks in a soothing voice and who is happy to profit off of the suffering and deaths of others. When you come with this "well maybe we should listen to her ideas" stuff... it does not sound good to the people who have been paying attention.
posted by IAmUnaware at 8:11 PM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

That tweet doesn't seem to exist for me. "Something Went Wrong"
posted by hippybear at 8:35 PM on July 30, 2019

Works ok for me. Probably better you don’t look unless you’re wanting your blood pressure to spike.
posted by holborne at 8:40 PM on July 30, 2019

Hrm. Message at the bottom of the screen: "You have been blocked from performing this action"

That's... interesting.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 PM on July 30, 2019

Anyway, I'm going to stand by the idea that if everyone completely grokked the nature of "All You Need Is Love" (the concept, not the song. Although the song is pretty good) to its fullest extent the world would change and life would be completely better for everyone. It's sort of the foundation of Star Trek on some level, too.

I can't subscribe to Williamson's canon of beliefs because I don't entirely know what they are. I have read nothing of any of her work and I can't claim to have heard any speech of hers. But I think she and I have some overlap, even if the details might not have much congruity.
posted by hippybear at 9:01 PM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

On second thought, if you’re thinking that it’s a good thing to have overlap with Williamson in any regard, maybe you want to have a look at that Tweet after all.
posted by holborne at 9:25 PM on July 30, 2019

Wow, okay, so, I lived through the AIDS crisis in my 20s and I have no first-hand knowledge of anyone thinking they can somehow think or love their way to health after being diagnosed. I'd be curious to know how many people this actually was. It's awful that it was any number at all, but I was like there, with my finger on the pulse of what was going on through a lot of channels of information and... like... that whole thing is something that never intersected me or anyone in my life during that time even insofar as to be something encountered in media or in conversation or even by rumor.

posted by hippybear at 9:37 PM on July 30, 2019

Guess it never actually happened then! Glad we cleared that up.
posted by holborne at 9:41 PM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

No, absolutely no, and you do NOT paint me with that brush.

It did not intersect with my life in any way. And I do not discount it happening. I don't know how much it happened, but it didn't ripple in my experience. I find it shameful that it happened. I don't know how to explain this to you.

I say a thing about thinking Love is good and might be worth considering, and this woman says something similar and has for a while but I don't follow her and don't read her. But yes, Love is good. And then you point out a thing and I say "okay, wow, I didn't know about this, I don't know how far it spread, it's awful that it happened, but I didn't know about it" but also "yes, I think Love is still good", and now I'm accused of saying it didn't happen and that is not what I said and the record will show that.
posted by hippybear at 9:45 PM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is a profile arguing that her ideas and ideology are dangerous for the left not so much because they’re anti-science but because they’re old-school reaganian/neoliberal individualism repackaged under airy uplifting rhetoric.

I’m not American so don’t worry I’m not voting but I have to admit I found her passion at the debates convincing and appealing and indeed uplifting *sigh* UNTIL I read more about her background as I’d never heard of her before. So here’s to hoping all those people googling her after the debate end up with the same skepticism towards her because if I can have one wish, it’d be to at least have someone truly left-wing and experienced in politics as the next POTUS, for the benefit of the US and the rest of the world.
posted by bitteschoen at 7:14 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

From the Washington Post, 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:
But Williamson has more in common with President Trump than she — and indeed many voters — might admit, and it’s not just that both have used personal celebrity as a springboard into politics. At their core, both are also prime representatives of one of the most important and formative spiritual trends in American life: the notion that we can transform our material circumstances through faith in our personal willpower. Trump’s authoritarian cult of personality and Williamson’s woo-inflected belief in the power of “self-actualization” both come from the quintessentially American conviction that the quickest and surest route to Ultimate Reality can be found within our selves.
It goes on to trace the New Thought movement from the Transcendentalists to Norman Vincent Peale, the prosperity gospel, Trump, and Williamson's flavor of new age spirituality.
posted by peeedro at 11:09 AM on August 1, 2019

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