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Marianne Williamson’s “girlfriend” call to New Zealand and her other best moments in the debates

And by best, we mean all of them.

Democratic Presidential Candidates Participate In First Debate Of 2020 Election Over Two Nights
Will Marianne Williamson be president? No. But she’s kind of the best.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Emily Stewart covered business and economics for Vox and wrote the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

Marianne Williamson did not speak for the first 27 minutes of the Democratic debate on Thursday. But when she finally did, everything she said was awesome.

If you’re not familiar, Williamson, who will turn 67 on July 8, is an author, spiritual leader, and friend to Oprah Winfrey. (Bet this time last year, you thought you’d be talking about Oprah on the debate stage and not her spiritual guru, right?)

She launched her presidential campaign in January and has more or less been flying under the radar, but her persona is distinctive: She sort of feels like a cross between your local psychic, the hippie lady who runs the town secondhand store, and your mom (or, um, you) two glasses of Chardonnay deep. She speaks with a cadence and accent that’s hard to put your finger on, but let’s just say it’s the definition of, as Marianne would probably put it, groovy.

Will she be president? Well, no. But Marianne is fun.

Williamson got a spot on the stage at the second night of the Democratic debates — something candidates including Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Rep. Seth Moulton failed to achieve. And girlfriend (as Marianne would, again, probably put it) did not disappoint.

Here’s what she said, verbatim, because that’s really all you need:

On how she’d lower the cost of prescription drugs:

First of all, the government should never have made the deal with Big Pharma that they couldn’t negotiate. That was just part of the regular corruption by which corporations have their way with us. You know, I want to say, and while I agree — and I’m with Sen. Bennet and others, but I agree with almost everything here.

I tell you one thing, it’s really nice if we have all these plans, but if you think we beat Donald Trump by just having all these plans, you’ve got another thing coming. Because he didn’t win by saying he had a plan. He won by simply saying, “Make America Great Again.”

We have to get deeper than just these superficial fixes, as important as they are. Even if we’re just talking about the superficial fixes, ladies and gentlemen, we don’t have a health care system in the United States, we have a sickness care system in the United States. We just wait until somebody gets sick and then we talk about who is going pay for the treatment and how they’re going to be treated.

What we need to talk about is why so many Americans have unnecessary chronic illnesses, so many more, compared to other countries. It gets back into not just Big Pharma, not just health insurance companies, but it has to do with chemical policies, it has to do with environmental policies, it has to do with food, it has to do with drug policies, and it has to do with environment policies.

On family separation:

What Donald Trump has done to the children, and it’s not just in Colorado, [Gov. Hickenlooper], you’re right, it is kidnapping and it’s extremely important for us to realize that.

If you forcibly take a child from their parents’ arms, you are kidnapping them. If you take a lot of children and you put them in a detainment center, thus inflicting trauma upon them, that’s called child abuse. This is collective child abuse. … Both of those things are a crime. If your government does it, that doesn’t make it less of a crime. These are state-sponsored crimes.

What President Trump has done is not only attack these children, not only demonize these immigrants, he is attacking a basic principle of America’s moral core: We open our hearts to the stranger.

This is extremely important. It’s also important for all of us, and I have great respect for everyone who is on this stage, but we’re going to talk about what to do about health care? Well, where have you been, guys? Because it’s not just a matter of a plan, and I haven’t heard anybody on this stage who has talked about American foreign policy in Latin America and how we might have in the last few decades contributed to something being more helpful.

On criminal justice reform and police brutality:

All of these issues are extremely important, but they are specifics, they are symptoms, and the underlying cause has to do with deep, deep, deep realms of racial injustice, both in our criminal justice system and in our economic system. And the Democratic Party should be on the side of reparations for slavery for this very reason. I do not believe, I do not believe, that the average American is a racist, but the average American is woefully undereducated about the history of race in the United States.

On addressing climate change — and age?

The fact that somebody has a younger body doesn’t mean that you don’t have old ideas. John Kennedy did not say, “I have a plan to get a man to the moon, and so we’re going to do it, and I think we can all work together, and maybe we can get a man on the moon.” John Kennedy said, “By the end of this decade, we are going to put a man on the moon.” Because John Kennedy was back in the day when politics included the people and included imagination and included great dreams and included great plans.

I have had a career not making the political plans, but I have had I a career harnessing the inspiration and the motivation and the excitement of people. Masses of people. When we know that when we say we are going to turn from a dirty economy to a clean economy, we’re going to have a Green New Deal, we’re going to create millions of jobs, we’re going to do this within the next 12 years, because I’m not interested in just winning the next election, we are interested in our grandchildren. Then it will happen.

On which issue she would push first as president:

My first call is to the prime minister of New Zealand, who said her goal was to make New Zealand the place where it’s the best place in the world for a child to grow up. And I will tell her, “Girlfriend, you are so on.” Because the United States of America is going to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up.

On the international relationship she would reset:

One of my first phone calls would be to call the European leaders and say, “We’re baaack.” Because I totally understand how important it is that the United States be part of the Western alliance.

Her closing statement — and message to Donald Trump:

I’m sorry we haven’t talked more tonight about how we’re going to beat Donald Trump. I have an idea about Donald Trump: Donald Trump is not going to be beaten just by insider politics talk. He’s not going to be beaten just by somebody who has plans. He’s going to be beaten by somebody who has an idea what the man has done. This man has reached into the psyche of the American people and he has harnessed fear for political purposes.

So, Mr. President — if you’re listening — I want you to hear me please: You have harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out. So I, sir, I have a feeling you know what you’re doing. I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win.

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