Author and 2020 candidate Marianne Williamson makes campaign stop at Prairie Lights

Author and 2020 candidate Marianne Williamson campaigned at Iowa City bookstore, Prairie Lights, on Saturday where she called for mature listening and morality in modern politics.


Marianne Williamson, author and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, makes a campaign stop at Prairie Lights in Iowa City on Saturday.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Reporter

Marianne Williamson, Democratic presidential candidate and author, made a campaign stop at Prairie Lights on Feb. 2, where she addressed race relations in the U.S. and the need for more progressive economic policy.

Williamson has written 12 self-help books based on Christian and spiritual beliefs, and she ran for Congress in California’s 34th District as an independent in 2014, when she won approximately 13 percent of the vote.

Williamson said Americans can no longer expect big corporations to behave ethically or consider their moral responsibility.

“We have a sociopathic economic system, and it has become a sociopathic economic tyranny,” she said. “Huge multinational corporate conglomerates are the new Big Brother.”

She condemned President Trump’s “trickle down” economic system, an economic theory based on giving tax cuts to big businesses with the expectation that benefits will trickle down to workers.

“What it did was leave millions without a life raft,” Williamson said.

She believes African Americans today should receive reparations for slavery, comparing that to the reparations the Jewish people in Germany received after the Holocaust.

She believes anything less than $100 billion collectively would be insulting, she said, and there could be a council of African American leaders chosen from academia and politics to decide what projects in the African American community would benefit from reparation payments.

Cathy Wadsworth, who immigrated to Iowa City 30 years ago from England, said she liked what Williamson had to say about slavery reparations.

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“I’m shocked it didn’t actually happen back when Abraham Lincoln had sort of set it up,” Wadsworth said. “I think it’s really time.”

She thinks Williamson’s message is a lot like that of other Democrats, she said, but she liked that Williamson incorporated spirituality into her campaign.  

Williamson said her writing fuels her campaign. She made regular appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show in the ’90s to discuss her books and has been called Winfrey’s spiritual adviser by media outlets.

“The American revolution that has to occur in the 21st century is primarily a revolution of consciousness,” Williamson said.

Mary Dion, a 20-year Iowa City resident, said she attended Williamson’s talk because she enjoys the opportunity of hearing what candidates have to say. She was surprised by how much she liked Williamson, she said.

“I really thought she had a lot of good thought behind serious issues,” Dion said. “I think it’s true that we dance around race and that we don’t want to talk about it, and I think we need reparations, and I think we need to look deeper and talk deeply.”

In response to the handful of Democrats already campaigning in Iowa, Williamson said, she’s not running for “people-pleaser-in-chief.”

“My job is to speak from as deep a place within myself as I can, and I felt heard. Where people go with that is in a way not my business,” Williamson said. “People in Iowa will hear many candidates. I respect that, and I’m honored to be part of the process.”

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