Marianne Williamson visits FPU for Pizza & Politics

  • Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson at Franklin Pierce. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson spoke at Franklin Pierce on Monday during the university's Pizza and Politics event. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson spoke at Franklin Pierce on Monday during the university's Pizza and Politics event. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson spoke at Franklin Pierce on Monday during the university's Pizza and Politics event. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/5/2019 4:58:18 PM

Lecturer, activist and Democratic candidate for president Marianne Williamson was the latest visitor to Franklin Pierce University’s Pizza & Politics event, speaking on the need to return the country to a moral center and to overhaul its financial priorities.

Pizza & Politics is hosted by PoliticsFitzU, a student organization affiliated with the university’s Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication. Candidates are given an opportunity to answer questions from the hosts of the event, as well as from the crowd.

Williamson, an author and advocate, has experience running nonprofits and as a spiritual leader for the Church of Today, a Unity Church in Michigan, and has authored 13 books, but has little experience in the political arena, aside from an unsuccessful run as an independent in 2014 for the 33rd Congressional District in California. She acknowledged her lack of political experience, and that the same criticism is often leveled at President Donald Trump, but said the lack of experience was not the real issue with Trump’s presidency, and wouldn’t stand in the way of her candidacy.

Political experience could be made up for in the Cabinet and with the right selection for vice president, Williamson said. What the country needs in a president is a strong leader with a moral center and a forward-looking vision.

When Paul Lambert, a PoliticsFitzU Fellow at Franklin Pierce University, asked how Williamson would work across the aisle, particularly if the Republican party retains control of the U.S. Senate, Williamson said she was prepared to work with people who are politically opposed to her, but she also “would not be timid with the use of executive power” if she was faced with an “obstructive” branch of government. 

Franklin Pierce student Alex Thenin asked Williamson to elaborate on a proposal of having young people dedicate a year of service to the country, which she did during her stump speech prior to taking questions. Williamson said the country and the world needed mass mobilization comparable to the focus of the workforce in World War II to combat some of the biggest issues facing the country, including climate change, failing infrastructure, and the health care crisis. Williamson has proposed having a non-binding referendum, voted on by 18- to 26-year-olds, to decide whether or not to institute a year of national service for that age group, which could be provided in a number of ways.

Williamson stood before a crowd of students and community members to talk about what she said is the failing of the “trickle-down” economic structure. Williamson said the concept hasn’t worked for the country.

Williamson outlined a plan to repeal the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a tax reform endorsed by the Republican party and by President Donald Trump, and to create bigger tax cuts for the middle class, while increasing taxes on the most wealthy Americans.

Williamson said she was for a 3 percent tax on billionaires, and a 2 percent tax on those who earn more than 50 milllion, and reducing business subsidies.

“I’m not an anti-capitalist,” Williamson said. “I believe in capitalism with a conscience.”

Williamson circled back to that idea during several questions from the audience. When one member of the audience asked what she would do, if president, to address the levels of incarceration in the United States, Williamson pointed to the for-profit businesses of building and operating prisons, saying that it was an example of the country making “corporate profits more important than people.”

One of the ways to address the incarceration rate, Williamson said, was to legalize marijuana, and to release people convicted of crimes to do with its use. In general, she said, the system needs to find a better way to deal with non-violent drug offenders, favoring rehabilitation over punishment.

She was also asked about access to support for people with disabilities, in particular, the need for more direct support professionals and increased access to federal health care.

It was a matter of inclusively, Williamson said. She said the Americans with Disabilities Act needs to be expanded upon.

Williamson also said there needs to be a greater focus on building up the nations youth, saying it was “immoral” that the United States should have children who are homeless, starving or traumatized.

She spoke of putting additional funding towards schools, and not just at the post-high school level, though she touched upon the idea of free college education. She pointed to the disparity caused by funding the public schooling system in large part through property taxes, saying that was a process that needed to be stopped.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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