By Tim Nedoba
Editors note - This Q&A is second in a multi-part series with 2020 Presidential candidates leading up to the Iowa Caucuses.
Join the Evolution
The Williamson campaign is taking the Iowa Caucuses seriously. To date, Marianne Williams has made eight trips to Iowa, both in her exploratory committee capacity and now as a candidate. Additionally, the campaign has several upcoming events planned for this spring.
On her campaign website Marianne Williamson sums up her campaign this way, “It is time to let go of an old and tired political conversation and forge a new, whole-person, heart-centered political dynamic. I hope you will join me in this evolutionary effort. It is time to create an entirely new phase of America’s story; one in which we repair what needs to be repaired, pull ourselves up from the mire into which in too many ways we have descended, and forge a better future for ourselves and those we love.”
GoGuide (GG): Do you feel good about where you’re at now so far out from the Iowa caucus? Are you all in for the Iowa Caucuses?
Marianne Williamson (MW): I do feel strongly about my position in Iowa. I was the first candidate to have a virtual captain assigned for all 99 counties in Iowa. I have also moved to Iowa to understand the needs of all Iowans better, doing small group meetings in cities and towns all across the state. Doing so has not only affected me as a candidate, it has changed me as a citizen of this country. It is so important to be on the ground and to see the genuine fears, frustrations, and aspirations of those in this beautiful community.
GG: Do you plan to actively seek the LGBTQ vote in Iowa in preparation for the Caucus?
MW: I plan to not only seek but to earn support from the LGBTQ community throughout this nation actively. I learned a great deal when I sat down with Nate and his team at Iowa Safe Schools about the struggles Iowan LGBTQ students face every day and will continue this dialogue with them and other groups hopefully into the White House.
GG: Why should the LGBTQ community support you in the Iowa Caucus for President?
MW: In a very real sense, the LGBTQ community gave me my career. When the AIDS crisis hit America, it was this community that first truly listened to my message of forgiveness, healing, and miracles. There are few other subsets of American culture with the same level of insight, sensitivity, and spiritual and political muscle as the LGBTQ community, and it is through their eyes that I still see so much of the world. I have stood with and for this community since the beginning of my involvement in the public eye, and many of my proudest achievements have been with them. Project Angelfood being just one.
This is not a community that I curry favor with because it serves me from time to time. This is a community to which I have been loyal for my entire career. My proposals when it comes to the issues that relate most closely to this community are too lengthy to summarize - I ask that you, please go to my website: https://www.marianne2020.com/issues/lgbtq-rights, for more.
GG: An important issue for the LGBTQ community is health care. How is your health care plan better than the other Democratic proposals?
MW: I believe that my health care plan, like most of my policy positions, is more holistic than others. The biggest problem with America’s health care system is that it is not a health care system so much as a sickness care system. It reflects an outdated perspective on health and healing, in which far too little attention is given to the actual cultivation of health and prevention of disease.
Unlike others who are running for President, I believe that we need a shift to a genuine health care system, that would involve attention to environmental, agricultural, chemical and nutritional factors which America’s current corporate-dominated system of governance would presumably resist. I believe that if America is to deal with our serious issues involving chronic disease and obesity, we must look deeply at the causes of disease and not simply their treatment.
For example, the Environmental Protection Agency needs to have its power restored as protector of our environment and thus our health.
The Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act must be restored in full, and bans on dangerous pesticides once again vigorously established and enforced. Genetically engineered food should be labeled. The Food and Drug Administration needs to have its power restored so that it can once again guard the American people from toxic substances that should not be on our shelves. And our children’s food, particularly school lunches, should be far more filled with healthy ingredients.
Until America comes to terms with how much we have acquiesced to the many unhealthy practices that should be considered unlawful -- but which are currently allowed to increase corporate profits -- we will continue to have a less-than-meaningful discussion of how as a society we provide health care.
GG: Another important issue is gender identity. Is someone’s birth gender identity his or her permanent legal gender in your opinion?
MW: Of course not.
GG: What else would you like GoGuide reader know about your candidacy for President?
MW: All I would add at this point is, I ask this community not to be a single-issue voting community. Yes, 100%, demand that the people you support to support you. But I say this to every community - we are not a country of individual concerns - we are a nation of universal concerns. There is so much work to be done, and we have to it altogether. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your prayers, your donations, and your love. Together, we can transform America into what it is truly meant to be.
More about Marianne Williamson can be found at https://www.marianne2020.com/my-story. Upcoming Iowa campaign events are available online at GoGuideMagazine.com.
GoGuide: In a recent Iowa poll, you did not receive very much support in the poll. Are you concerned about the low name recognition?
Andrew Yang: We were thrilled to be included in CNN’s first poll of Iowa Caucus voters a few weeks ago, which showed that I had the same rate of top-level support as Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Holder, and Tom Steyer. Seventeen percent of likely caucus voters knew who I was enough to have developed a strong opinion. Our message is working. We have a long way to go, but to have reached this point in 2018 is remarkable. We are achieving awareness levels far beyond our resources.
Don’t get me wrong though - we certainly need your and the entire LGBTQ community’s help to build on this success. We opened up our first office in Iowa last month. I am heading there for the 9th time at the end of January. On January 30th, we are having a Townhall with the LGBTQ community at the Iowa City Public Library at 5:30 pm, followed by an event at Prairie Lights at 7pm. Local press will be there.
We are punching way above our weight class. We can change the course of history as long as we fight together.
GG: Why should the LGBTQ community support you?
AY: Many folks in the LGBTQ community tell me I’m running on the most pro-LGBTQ presidential platform they’ve ever seen. My Iowa Campaign Coordinator dropped out of law school to work for me in part because he knows personally how transformative Universal Basic Income would be for the LGBTQ community. As he put it, the promise of “It Gets Better” is hollow without the promise of financial security in the case your family or community rejects you for who you are.
The LGBTQ community is tragically overrepresented among foster children, the homeless, the poor, and the food-insecure. LGBTQ kids are kicked out by their parents at a higher rate than the general population. Fifteen percent of transgender people, and more than 30 percent of trans people of color, are living in severe poverty. The Freedom Dividend (which is how I’ve rebranded Universal Basic Income because it tests better with our conservative friends) would disproportionately benefit LGBTQ youth, especially LGBTQ kids of color, and give them the freedom to live full, authentic lives.
The most direct and concrete way for the government to improve the lives of the LGBTQ community is to send you a check for $1,000 every month and let you spend it in whatever manner will benefit you the most. The government is not capable of a lot of things, but it is capable of sending large numbers of checks to large numbers of people promptly and reliably. We have plenty of resources, they’re just not being distributed to enough people right now. We need to build a new kind of economy – one that puts people first. If there’s one policy that would transform the lives of LGBTQ Americans for the better, it is Universal Basic Income.
I would of course also fight to extend legal non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. Sexual orientation and gender identity should be protected classes under the law, receiving all the federal protections afforded under the Constitution and civil rights law.
An important issue for the LGBTQ community is health care. How is your health care plan better than the other Democratic proposals?
Healthcare should be a basic right for all Americans. I am for a Medicare for All, single-payer system. Right now, if you get sick you have two things to worry about