Do you know who Marianne Williamson is? Perhaps like me, you know the New Age spiritual leader and author solely because of this quote from her 1992 bestselling book A Return to Love, a quote which is often mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Williamson is many things—a friend of Oprah Winfrey; the author of more than a dozen books, including one titled A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever; the founder of Project Angel Food, an organization that provides meals to people living with HIV and AIDS; a social activist who supports everything from reparations for Black Americans to efforts to end poverty; and also now a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sure, why not??? Makes a lot of sense to me!
In November of last year, Williamson announced she was considering running for the Democratic nomination, saying we have “reverted to an aristocratic paradigm”:
She further explains her reasons for running on her campaign website: “Our political circumstances are not simply a product of external policies, but even more so of internal dynamics like fear, desperation, hope and yearning. In order for us to transform the crises we are facing now, we need a candidate whose understanding of our internal landscape is as expert as their understanding of traditional politics,” adding, “Together we can embark on an extraordinary adventure. We can show up for our country in a way we have never shown up before. And with God’s help, we can create miracles.”
Rumors had been circulating even before her announcement. Last summer, according to the Guardian, Williamson met with Democratic Party activists in Iowa, spending time in Des Moines as well as “Fairfield, Iowa, a rural town that is home to the Maharishi University of Management and has a thriving community of practitioners of transcendental meditation.” According to Iowa Starting Line, she had this to say in Polk City, Iowa, while she was in the state: “Fear, bigotry and racism have been harnessed for political purposes. It’s time to harness dignity, decency and love for political purposes.” And Williamson recently went on a three-day trip through New Hampshire, in which she proclaimed that she “received enough positive energy to make me feel I should take the next step.”
Williamson is not a newcomer to longshot political campaigns—in 2014, she unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Los Angeles as an independent, receiving endorsements from centrist Democrats like Jennifer Granholm as well as Keith Ellison and Dennis Kucinich. She came in fourth, but counted several Hollywood A-listers and celebrities as her backers, including Katy Perry, Laura Dern, and Alanis Morissette, the latter of whom was so moved that she wrote and performed a song inspired by Williamson’s campaign. (Some of the lyrics: “As we bandy our solution / Celebrate our revolution / That antidotes our stations / Today.”) In 2016, Williamson publicly threw her support behind Bernie Sanders.
Listen, I’m not saying I’ll vote for Marianne Williamson, New Age spiritual guru to the stars, but I’m not saying I’m NOT going to vote for her. Stranger things have happened!