About 11:15 a.m. I left the garden and drove Ely Blacktop to 76th Street and headed West to Cedar Hall on the main campus of Kirkwood Community College where presidential candidate Marianne Williamson joined State Senator Rob Hogg in a “climate conversation.”
Since I would be returning to the garden after the event, I wore my overalls and mud-caked gardening shoes.
I joined a number of students and staff, along with local members of environmental groups in a large operating theater-style classroom. By the time we got started more than 40 people had joined us.
I attended partly because the venue was close to home, partly to support Senator Hogg’s efforts to engage presidential candidates about climate change, and partly to see if Williamson’s campaign is, as some have called it, a “joke.”
Williamson’s campaign is not a joke. Why anyone would criticize a woman who is successful in her own right, by objective standards such as having written four number one New York Times best selling books, had me curious. She made it to the first two Democratic National Committee presidential debates, although just barely achieving one percent support in three separate national polls to qualify. She’s dead serious about her platform and as confident as any of the other 23 presidential candidates. With great optimism she said, “If you’re going to run for president, you might just win.”
The main news out of the event was Williamson did not support a separate DNC debate on the topic of climate change. The reason, she said, was “because there is no competing with Jay Inslee.” Williamson also said the topic cannot be separated from the broader problems in the United States. She made a point. Advocates for addressing the deleterious effects of the climate crisis cannot separate this one issue into a silo separate from other important matters like health care, education and national defense and expect to resolve them.
Williamson made a strong case for slowing our relationship with Saudi Arabia. She said as president she would immediately stop arms sales to the kingdom and end United States support for the war in Yemen, a conflict she said was immoral.
She also weighed in on nuclear disarmament, asking why we need 100 aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs when dropping ten of them could end life as we know it? It was refreshing to hear a candidate raise the issue without prompting.
Dave Bradley at Blog for Iowa wrote Williamson was positioned in the third tier of candidates, among those “who truly have little chance and are often running to push some ideas or philosophy.”
Marianne Williamson has been finding her way all her adult life. Win or lose, the time spent with her this afternoon was memorable for her determination to assert her solutions her way. As Hogg referred to her speech in Cedar Rapids yesterday, it is the “politics of love” and quite different from the offerings of other candidates.
Neighborhood Network News recorded this event. The YouTube video can be viewed here.
To learn more about Marianne Williamson follow this link to her website.