Having had a long career articulating universal spiritual principles in my
writing and lecturing, I have seen the transformational power of knowing
that no matter what happens, love will always get the final say. From
Israelites arriving at the Promised Land to the resurrection of Jesus,
religious traditions carry the common theme that after the deepest darkest
night there is always the dawning of a new day.
Running for President, I have been challenged to find a way to express that
same idea in secular terms. I’m from a religious minority myself, after
all. I know how important it is to keep our political conversations
secular, in order to respect the plurality of faiths – and non-faith – that
make up the American electorate.
Religion and spirituality are two different things, however. In the words
of President John F. Kennedy, “We cannot afford to be materially rich but
spiritually poor.” I have wanted to inspire faith that better times are
possible, but isn’t invoked with the cheap and easy cliche so often uttered
by politicians: that “our best days are still ahead of us.” In truth, maybe
they are, and maybe they aren’t. I want to inspire hope born not of
platitudes but of possibility – a feeling that something deep inside us, at
the very core of things, is always bending in the direction of the good.
That sentiment, spoken in a secular but profoundly spiritual way, lies in
this well known quote from French existentialist philosopher Albert Camus: *“In
the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world
pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something
better, pushing right back.”*
How beautifully that quote expresses the idea that there is, within all of
us, the capacity for regeneration and repair. How desperately we need to
collectively believe that now. Even among the happiest people, I find a
sadness about America today. In the words of a woman I was talking to last
week, “Our country has gone awry.” She is a State Representative, and told
me she spends most of her time trying to push back against genuinely
antidemocratic efforts in her Statehouse. Rather than being able to spend
her time making people’s lives better, she’s constantly having to push back
against people who are actually trying to make things worse for them.
People who are actually elected representatives of the people…. are trying
to limit the rights of the people.
Such are the times in which we live.
But as I say so often, we have had tough times before. We cannot allow
ourselves to forget that, nor the fact that historically our ancestors have
responded to tough times in glorious ways. From abolition to Women’s
Suffrage, from organized labor to the Civil Rights movement, as a nation we
have never failed to ultimately push back against oppressive forces in our
It is simply our turn now.
I am running for president to provide a different option than the ones
presented by a sclerotic, covertly corrupt status quo. I reject the notion
that only those who have spent years working within a system that drove us
into a ditch, should be considered qualified to lead us out of it. Such
people’s qualification is that they know how to perpetuate that system; the
most important qualification for our next president is that she know how to
How? By doing what I am doing now. By saying the quiet parts out loud, by
pointing to the elephant we all know is sitting in the middle of the living
room, by speaking common sense to a vast gaslit nation. No, the “practical
issues” of politics are not what matter most today. Our problem is not that
we don’t have enough political car mechanics; our problem is that we’re on
the wrong road. We don’t lack technicians; we lack vision.
I read an article about myself years ago in which someone said something
that made me laugh but that I felt was true: “Marianne Williamson isn’t
saying anything everybody else isn’t saying – she’s just saying it when the
mic is on.” I feel that’s as true of my career today. It’s not like I’m
saying anything that people don’t already know. But that’s the point! *The
continuance of our current political system depends on our consistently
denying what we know.* It wants us to pretend that what we know in our
hearts isn’t true, or isn’t important. And thus we lose faith that we know
much of anything at all.