I didn't place in the top two in last week's House of Representatives District 33 primary election, and while of course I was disappointed I was certainly not devastated or even truly sad.
But I've heard things in the aftermath of the election that indeed have made me sad - not because people didn't vote for me, but because of why in many cases people said they didn't vote for me. These issues relate not just to an election, but to an attitude that pervades our culture in relation to anyone with a so-called "spiritual" perspective.
First, I apparently wasn't perceived by some people as a "serious" candidate. Given the fact that I was the only candidate in the race with an entire platform based on child poverty, mass incarceration, income disparity, diminishing civil liberties, domestic surveillance, student loan debt, corporatization and rule by oligarchy, passing a Green New Deal, and a Constitutional Amendment to rid corporations of the rights of personhood, I'm a little stymied as to what makes a person "serious" enough to pass muster with the so-called "serious" people who make such judgments. Indeed, mine was the only top tier candidacy that actually did make a serious critique of the political status quo.
What, I wonder, makes one a "serious" candidate in the eyes of supposedly serious people, other than being someone who doesn't challenge their notions of what it means to be serious? When people capitulate to a system that they know is broken -- that they know in their hearts will not be fixed by mere legislative technique -- yet do not actually vote to change that system, then they're being intellectually and emotionally dishonest. And that is not a serious person.
Spirituality is not a religion; it is a conviction of the heart. And making a case for social conscience is not a joke. No one should apologize for the fact that they believe we're on the Earth to love each other, and if anything, those who do not factor that notion into their politics are the ones who should be apologizing. If love matters most, then it's intolerable that America has the second-highest child poverty rate among all advanced nations in the world, or the highest mass incarceration rate in the world, or a system that is rigged more and more every day in the interests of our richest citizens; if money matters most, then why concern ourselves?
"New Age" is a label that can be used to trivialize even the most serious thinker. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that "we have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of civilization." Should only clergy be allowed to say this, without risk of mockery? What makes one a New Age Guru, by the way, other than having been caricatured that way decades ago by the likes of People magazine? Most importantly, I'm left wondering how in the world one fights a caricature.
I will not take off my stilettos in order to cater to subconscious sexism, any more than I will stop proclaiming the power of faith in order to cater to a secularized progressive bias. Love doesn't need scientific verification. What I will do to the best of my ability is respond to such prejudices, by naming them and calling them out. I know my campaign was outside the box, but inside the box is profoundly toxic today. And no one living or working within that box has the right to say that they are serious thinkers, or that someone trying to destroy the box is not. A pseudo-progressive and pseudo-intellectual establishment that urges us to fight our new corporate overlords while functioning at the behest of those overlords is serious only in that it is seriously ridiculous. And nothing could be a more serious task today than to call our political system to account for its corruption, our society to the challenge of taking a serious look at our national character defects, and our country to its remembrance of our own democratic ideals at a time when they are withering away before our eyes.
Marianne Williamson is a best selling author and former Congressional candidate.