As we struggle to deal with the perilous times in which we live I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down recently with a woman who I have admired for some time to discuss where we are, how we got here and how we proceed in a way that does not result in catastrophe. Marianne Williamson is truly a deep thinker with an abundance of positivism that forces you to think in terms that don’t merely go outside the box but envision a brand new box altogether. I am glad to call her my friend and enjoy exploring the depths of the dilemma we find ourselves in as we confront a divisive nation searching for its soul.
She began our conversation by quoting Ghandi, who once remarked that humanity is not in its right mind. She offers that our nation is currently in the throes of a corporate aristocracy that smothers the democratic ideas and ideals that have been advanced in our Constitution and its application over the past two centuries to the point where “short-term profits override consideration for safety, security, and the well being of people, animals and the planet.”
Of course, I was tempted to offer Will Rogers who quipped “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat,” I decided this was no time for witty repartee and kept it to myself. However, working with a 50-50 split in a party that stretches from Joe Manchin to Bernie Sanders will certainly test one’s skills when searching for legislative and policy solutions that require at the very least a majority. But we will leave that for another discussion.
Furthermore, she asserts “we are so disconnected…to the point where humanity is on a collision course with itself. The economic paradigm overrides humanitarian values and democratic values…to the point where property rights is considered sacrosanct.” Bingo, Big Pharma, Big Fossil Fuels interests, big Defense contractors, entrenched and organized economic interests sprinkled with a heavy dose of manufactured conspiracy theories that test one’s ability to even offer, let alone, secure solutions presents a challenge for the ages and all conspire to slow if not stop progress. But this is the challenge we face and must prevail over for the sake of sanity and humanity.
She continues that economic forces which create and perpetuate a system that benefits the few rather than the many now own the government. It is corrupt to the extent that it represents legalized bribery. Democracy has been checkmated. The massive transfer of wealth that has taken place over the past half century and the growing chasm that has opened between the haves and the have-nots has virtually driven a large underclass and youth away from participation in a system that neither benefits nor inspires their participation.
Of course, the Democratic Party has long championed expanded rights and opportunities for those less fortunate than others. However, change in a democratic system is limited by a growing lack of confidence in both leaders and institutions. Distrust is aided and abetted by gerrymandering, the legislative filibuster, voter suppression efforts and a growing and vocal opposition supercharged by massive disinformation and misinformation campaigns.
The logical questions that need to be addressed are what strategies are needed to combat this frontal assault by authoritarian acolytes against democracy? While the prospect for Democrats to hold both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections is considerably enhanced in recent months, whether it will be sufficient to retain one-party control after November is still very much in question.
Democratic strategists are making a plea aimed at attracting increasing support from Republican suburban women, so-called traditional Republicans, Independents, and youth who are identified in recent polling to be upset and in opposition to the recent Dobbs abortion decision by the Supreme Court. Whether these constituencies will deliver in November, of course, remains to be seen, however the numbers are encouraging as well as the surprise expression in Kansas among a reliable Red State electorate offers hope that common sense will prevail.
Whether such a strategy—combined with the tricky strategy of supporting Trump candidates with Democratic Party money, a highly controversial and potentially risky maneuver—will reverse what has been traditionally poor performance by the party in power mid-term may surprise the political junkie community, of which I am a practicing member. However, there are some who offer that a safer and potentially more certain approach would be to ensure you capture those within the Democratic sphere who have also dropped out of the equation due to a more progressive agenda.
Personally, I endorse utilizing both approaches in order to help maximize the potential of crossing the threshold that allows us at least two more years to help reestablish the benefits of a democratic system of governance.The stakes are too high to not exercise all potential options, in my humble estimation.
Towards the end of our discussion, I asked Marianne if she had the ability to make three wishes come true looking forward to policies that will hopefully help humanity prevail this is what she had to offer:
- First, she would work to remove the overt influence of money in our system by overturning Citizens’ United and move to establish public funding for Federal campaigns.
- Second, she would establish a US Department of Peace, putting the ability to wage peace on a par with the ability to wage war, and reduce the military budget.
- Third, she advocates a massive transfer of resources to advance the lives of America’s children.
The importance of the upcoming mid-term elections cannot be underestimated. The options are stark: either chart a path that unites us in a quest to resuscitate democracy or continue to engage in what may become a modern day civil war, shocking, yes, hyperbolic, no.
Eventually we are all going to have to work through the divisiveness and conflicting values that are currently disrupting our society. It will not be easy but it is imperative that we work to salvage the ideals and ideas that underpin our nation’s birth and maturation. In the end it is about We, the People, all of us.