The 2020 Democratic candidate spoke at GW about her presidential priorities and vision for the country.
By Kristen Mitchell
The United States is no longer a functioning democracy run by the people and for the people, said Marianne Williamson, a Democratic candidate for president, at George Washington University on Sunday. Instead, the government operates as an aristocracy for the benefit of huge multinational corporate interests.
During a speech at the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom, the author and activist turned politician condemned decades of trickle-down economics policies, corporate subsidies and tax breaks for the wealthy. The United States has been “sliding from democracy” for the past 40 years, she said, and it’s time for the people to mobilize for political change.
“We’re not the first generation to have to deal with organized institutionalized forces, which would erode democracy and assault everything it’s about,” she said. “Let’s just not be the first generation to wimp out on doing what it takes to get this country back on track.”
The event was sponsored by the GW College Democrats. Ms. Williamson, who has not yet qualified for the next primary debate, presented her plan for a massive infusion of “economic hope and opportunity” into the country. Her plan includes repealing President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut that disproportionately benefited wealthy Americans, instituting a middle class tax cut and increasing taxes on the assets of billionaires. She also wants to implement free tuition at state colleges and universities and give the federal government more power to negotiate drug prices.
Ms. Williamson believes public policy aimed at helping average Americans thrive will “unleash” the spirit of the American people.
“The reason I’m running for president of the United States is because none of this is going to happen unless we the people make it happen. Incremental change will not change this,” she said. “We need a fundamental pattern disruption of the political and social and economic patterns that rule America today. Donald Trump did not create all these problems — these problems created Donald Trump.”
Marianne Williamson (left) engages with a member of the audience while speaking at the Marvin Center on Sunday. (Harrison Jones/ GW Today).
Ms. Williamson said she believes a “season of moral repair” is necessary in the United States. The political establishment does not speak to voters earnestly about the challenges facing the country, she said, because hard truths don’t win votes. She proposed an era of radical truth-telling to address issues like climate change, gun violence and the needs of children.
As president, Ms. Williamson said she would launch two new federal departments: The Department of Children and Youth and the Department of Peace. The United States should cultivate a global outlook that is oriented toward peace instead of war, she said, and distance itself from amoral allies like Saudi Arabia.
It’s also time for the United States to address deep-rooted racism— the country’s “original character defect” — that generations of Americans have failed to address, she said. Ms. Williamson supports reparations for slavery and also believes fundamental reparative measures are necessary to address the wrongs that have been committed against Native Americans.
“If we want this country to have the century that is possible, then there’s some things we’re going to have to clean up,” she said. “No individual and no country can have the future we want is we’re not willing to clean up the past.”
Students in attendance had the opportunity to ask questions following Ms. Williamson’s speech.