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Detroit — Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson on Monday promised if she's elected, she'll seek reparations for slavery and will infuse politics with more spirituality and less corporate money.

During a town hall meeting Monday at Detroit Unity Temple in Detroit, Williamson railed against “the false God in America ... our corporate overlords … (who) have destroyed America’s middle class.

"Ladies and gentleman, it's time for the people to step in," she said to raucous applause.

Williamson, 66, is a best-selling self-help author and spiritual teacher who lived in Metro Detroit from 1998 to 2006. She is one of at least 22 Democratic candidates running for the presidential nomination. 

Williamson’s platform calls for reparations for slavery, to repeal the Trump tax cuts and to “close those corporate loopholes."

"We gave $26 billion last year to the fossil fuel industry,” she said.

In calling for slavery reparations, Williamson said: "It’s been 60 years since the 1960s, and it’s time to take the next step.

"What followed slavery was what we would call domestic terrorism," she said. "What do you call the Ku Klux Klan … what do you call institutional white supremacy but domestic terrorism?

"We’re sliding backwards. Mass incarceration means we’re sliding backwards," she said. "We’ve had an explosion of voting suppression efforts, and we know who they’ve been aimed at.

"Reparations won't mean slavery didn't happen, and racial tension will not be all gone. But you ... deal with it. You atone and you make amends," she said. "If someone stole $1,000 from me, I would appreciate the apology — but I would also want my money back. That's why I believe there should be reparations for slavery."

 

Williamson praised Germany "because they have paid reparations (to Jews) ... when you're in Germany today, you can feel how much the guilt over the Holocaust is gone. Let's pay reparations for slavery, and find the love," she said.

As part of her swing through Michigan, on Saturday, Williamson spoke at Rhema International Church in Harper Woods about criminal justice reform and policing in predominantly African American communities.

A press release from Williamson's campaign said she is focused on "health care, race in America and her proposal for a U.S. Department of Peace-Building."

Williamson told the gathered crowd of several dozen people that she decided to run for president about two years ago.

“I was sitting on my bed … the drapes were open, and the idea dropped in, and it was to run for president,” she said. “And it was a really elevated feeling of clarity, such as I’ve never experienced before.

"The worst obstacle I had to overcome within myself was the feeling that I wouldn’t be able to handle the inevitable embarrassment," she said. "How would I handle all the mean things people are going to say?

“But finally, because the feeling kept growing in my heart, I prayed to God for a thicker skin,” Williamson said.

Williamson laid out her vision of how to beat Trump in the election.

"If you think what we need is to find someone tough enough to beat  President Trump, you're mistaken," she said. "This man will eat the half-truth teller alive. The only way to counter a big lie is to tell a big truth."

Williamson said there are “two political universes: one is the universe of the dog-and-pony show; who’s up and down; who’s raised the most money. And then there’s this: Where grown-ups get together, and we get real, and we go deep, and we talk about things that matter.”

Williamson said Trump is “harnessing hatred and bigotry. There’s only one way to counter that: to harness love.

“I was watching the president, and I felt the spirit of my father who died in 1994, a voice that said, ‘This must not go unanswered,’” Williamson said. “I think a lot more people love in America than people hate. I don’t think we’re a nation of racist and bigots and homophobes.

“I think the people who lead from fear … are a small minority,” Williamson said. “But what’s happening here in America is we’re being led by a minority. The problem isn’t that more people hate than love, but those who hate, hate with conviction.

“I believe there are millions of people, some of whom voted for President Trump, who feel something is off in the center of space, that love really is the answer,” Williamson said.

Williamson wasn’t completely critical of Trump. She said it was “a good thing” he was negotiating with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and praised his “tough” trade talks with China.

“About China, I think Trump is correct to be tough,” she said. “China has been taking advantage of us for a long time. America with Chinese money is like a woman who is with a man who she knows is no good for her, but the sex is so good … she can’t stop.

“As much as I think this man is terrible for our country, and he must be defeated in 2020, I can’t say he’s wrong for being tough on China,” she said.

Khamadi Panther, 48, said he drove to Detroit from his home in Flint to hear Williamson.

"To come this distance, I've obviously heard her before, and I like her platform," Panther said. "I like that she wants to take a spiritual approach to politics, and that she's focusing less on the capitalist side of America. She wants to fix the distorted distribution of wealth and declining civility. It's what America needs."

State Rep. Leslie Love, D-Redford Township, emceed Monday’s town hall. She said when she was having difficulties a few years ago, a friend gave her one of Williamson’s book, “A Return to Love.”

“Every time you come to Detroit, I rush to get a seat to listen to what you have to say, because it’s wisdom and love that our nation is missing — and if we could practice that a little bit every day, she’d be president already,” Love said to Williamson, bringing applause.

Love cited one of her favorite Williamson quotes: “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we have learned.”

ghunter@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2134
Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN

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