Why Marianne Williamson Needs To Face Reality
One of the more disturbing elements of what has been a formidable push of activating yogis in the political sphere is this constant ‘oneness’ I keep seeing repeated. Julian Walker succinctly dealt with this issue, so I will not repeat his brilliant exposition on the topic. The point here is this: we are not one, in terms of ethics and moral values, how we carry ourselves in society and what we are trying to accomplish, or what we believe America should be, as a nation. This matter was further doused with rain water and patchouli yesterday when I saw this quote passed around from Marianne Williamson:
No matter who wins the election, we need a collective leap in consciousness in order to take our country and our world in the direction of peace and love.
I love that Williamson is engaging in some form of social activism and trying to lead a community she has been creating for decades into the political realm. But I don’t understand the strategy behind any of this. Let’s break it down bit by bit.
No matter who wins the election
It does matter who wins the election. Starting a sentence with such a cop-out is a set-up for disaster. I keep hearing that just getting out to vote is enough. While I’d rather have more people vote than less, there are very real issues at stake. A new Supreme Court judge (or judges), for one—Romney has expressed his interest in overturning Roe vs Wade. This would be by appointing a conservative judge sympathetic to the cause. In fact, watch his speech last night at the Al Smith dinner, a ‘comedic’ talk in which both he and Obama traded ‘fun’ barbs (it’s an institution for candidates to appear at this event right before the election). Romney closed thoughtfully, though couldn’t resist adding in that even though he knew that most people in the Manhattan audience would not be voting for him, he was related to them by being ‘in solidarity with the rights of the innocent child waiting to be born.’ Just like in the second presidential debate, when he answered a question about gun rights with conservative family values, the man cannot get off the topics of one-man/one-woman marriage and being pro-life, an awfully co-opted term which is better phrased ‘anti-choice.’
This is only one aspect of a Romney victory. Others include: additional, unpaid for military spending; repealing universal healthcare ‘on day one’; ending Dodd-Frank; whisking in the Keystone XL pipeline; cutting education spending; and you can forget about regulations for battling climate change. These are all extremely important issues that will help to define what America is going to look like in the immediate future. Sorry Marianne, your fantasy of a compassionate planet is not going to magically manifest itself if Romney wins.
we need a collective leap in consciousness
First of all, we still don’t even know what consciousness even is, or where it comes from. What I’m guessing Williamson is referring to is either a) neural plasticity, our ability to change brain patterning, or b) our moral structure. Both are fine objectives, even if her phrasing is off. Being noble sometimes has nothing to do with being realistic, however. While America has made incredible strides in the last century at curbing racism and sexism, for two, not to mention the aforementioned right to choose, as well signing into law the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—something Mitt Romney has still not said he supports, mind you—the idea that once the Mayan calendar ends we are all going to magically ‘see the light’ and make this collective leap is insane. It sets one up for disappointment, as well as lets one of the hook for doing the actual work it takes to get such legislation signed into law.
And, despite what New Age philosophy preaches, America is not going to mystically ‘wake up.’ What changes culture is legislation, regardless of how much one pleads for divine intervention. That’s why I’m blown away that Williamson would hold her Sister Giant events after the election. I’m all for getting more women involved in politics. That’s an amazing initiative. Here’s the thing: Christians have been doing this for four decades, at least. They’ve built entire colleges with the idea of raising a Christian army to fight for legislation that represents their morals, which, again, reflect anti-gay, anti-abortion, conservative values. This hardly seems like the collective leap forward Williamson pines for.
in order to take our country and our world in the direction of peace and love.
This might be the most troublesome part of the entire sentence. As a yoga instructor, violence is not something that inspires me. Fortunately, as Stephen Pinker has pointed out, humanity is at our least violent time in history. This is not going to be comforting to those still suffering under Islamic militancy, cows being fed candy because corn prices are too high, or anyone in North Korea. Overall, we’re pushing it forward. Yet this idea that the world will ever exist in peace and love is absurd. It amazes me that as wrapped into Eastern philosophy as many of the New Age tilt are, they have not taken to heart the very basic principle that when you introduce a concept, you by default summon its opposite. Our entire existence hinges on a balance of opposing forces. This might not be the way I like reality to be, but it’s the very force that created what I am. It’s the very force that created all of us.
This notion that a few workshops, some online teleseminars, a dozen faux-quantum shamans, and maybe a couple of pet psychics for good measure are going to somehow overturn the evil of corporate greed and military domination while lifting the veil of ignorance from every American, and then global, pair of eyes is not even a good movie plot. We tried that and failed. Getting people to the polls is wonderful. With 17 days left until the election, we need to actually inform them what is at stake. Unfortunately many people have only begun tuning in to this country’s politics over the last two weeks, which is better than not tuning in at all. But there’s a lot of recent history that’s been purposefully kept in the dark, and the light we need to evolve in a really compassionate manner is at stake. If you want to be a sister, or brother, giant in this country, give people some direction, and quit throwing fanciful little nothings into the air. When they blow away, our only recourse is going to be blaming karma or some god when the responsibility has been ours all along.