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2020: Marianne Williamson on big truths and moral outrage

2019-05-31

Author and activist Marianne Williamson joins Jon Favreau to discuss her bid for president, the difference between moral outrage and anger, getting money out of politics, and why she wants to establish a Department of Peace. Plus, her take on the role of spirituality in politics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to POD save America, I'm Jon Favreau here with another installment in our two thousand and twenty interview, Siris Today, we've got author activist and democratic presidential candidate Marian Williamson in studio in LOS Angelus. We talked about her background. Why she's running for president, why she wants to establish a department of peace and how to renew America's spirit. Here's. Our conversation check it out. Marianne Williamson welcome to save America
thank you. Thank you for having me I'm honored um, so you've been a spiritual and inspirational bestselling author many times over um you've worked at nonprofits, you've run for Congress. Obviously there are other candidates in the field without much experience in Washington or even elected office. But what is it about your specific set of qualifications and life experiences that made you say, I'm the best person to be leading this country. At this moment I've worked up close and personal with people for over thirty five years, who are dealing with crises in their lives. Seeking to navigate those crisis to transform them into opportunity, and I have recognized particularly over the last twenty years, how many of those crises are at least indirectly, and often directly a result of bad public policy.
So not only do I have a real visceral sense of how bad public policy affects people's lives and which bad public policy affects people's lives, but also a deep passion for what needs to change. I think that some that's what it's all about. It's about human suffering, how to address it and how to ameliorate it. That's what politics should be a cop politics should be a conduit for making people's lives better, securing our rights, not warding them right. So you were a Bernie Sanders supporter in twenty. Sixteen. What made you say not this time this time this time I want to myself. Nothing in may have said not no. This is not about no towards burning and say yes about me. If you know I'm a big fan of Bernie Sanders, I have been a big fan of Bernie Sanders and on the vast majority of his policies, I agree with him However, I'm having what I believe is a more expanded conversation as well. We need an integrated politics and by
But I mean we need to factor in much more than just external issues. The reason that the left was gobsmacked by his success, the establishment, the democratic establishment was gobsmacked by his success is the same reason that the republican establishment was gobsmacked by the success of Donald Trump. Both of them failed to recognize and for the most part, still do fail to recognize this. The signal difference of psychological and emotional factors in in creating political dynamics, I had seen up close and personal, as I said for decades, the economic despair, the economic tension and anxiety that is prevalent in lives of so many millions of people that I wasn't surprised that this economic populist cry of despair made it so heard it was going to make itself heard either in a leftist progressive populism.
Or an authoritarian right wing populism, such as as Donald Trump. So when I see certain things, certain issues where people are suffering needlessly and the police Call establishment is simply normalizing that despair rather than addressing it. Then I'm going to speak up. That's what I do Marilyn Robinson says. The basis of our democracy is the willingness to assume well about other people. I've always liked that line. How did we get to a place where so much of politics here and around the world is more focused on this side, yah of the sinister other um. Then it has been in quite a while there's. Oh, it's always been there and you of all people have demonstrated how much political force can be manifest when we go high rather than low, when in aspirational principles are spoken literally
So if you stop, if you stop extending the light, don't go be surprised when the darkness comes in, you have to be proactive in in extended sing the principles, the ideas and the energies which do create positive force, and if you there's, you know, there's really no such thing as neutrality. Neutrality is a myth and lot of american over the last few decades, both economically socially and politically. We have fallen for the of neutrality well we're not really trying to hurt anybody which is I'm trying to help anybody we're not really trying to exploit people were just drawing to get along and leave people alone. No, there is no such thing as they used to say in the 60s, if you're not part of the problem, you're part of the not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, if whether in our to visualize our personal lives or our societal lives. We're not holding high pro actively and vigorously the principles of democracy.
And the principles of deep humanitarian concern and passion. There is no reason to be surprised. You know you turn out the lights. The darkness sets it well so you know so now everybody's talking about what do we do about the darkness? The answer is turned on the line. Well, people would say I mean I obviously, as you pointed out, I worked in the Obama administration. I think he conducted himself in that manner. His administration did. I think Hillary Clinton tried her best to run her campaign, like that. How do you think we ended up with Donald Trump when there were some leader? some politicians trying to um be optimistic, toe, lift people up. Well, I don't mean to pander to you but words matter and once there was a big difference between, in my opinion, between the campaign Obama's campaign in in eight and the way governance unfolded. The words you know
I think it was Cuomo who said that we, campaign in poetry and we govern in prose should never do that. You should campaign in poetry and you should govern in poetry, so it was. The PO It was the word. You know anybody said words. Don't matter say that to Shakespeare words, have tremendous force There was. The word is even a biblical concept, so lifted everybody up and then the word stop. You know we're going to get the business. Well, hello, hello, and you know I part of the tragedy of of with Hillary Clinton is what happened, was Trump named people's Pain Obama named not not Obama Bernie Named people's pain, Hillary did not name the pain, I'm not saying she didn't care about the pain and I'm not saying that she wouldn't have done everything in our power to assuage the pain, but her camp and when she was out there saying. Oh, we just need to continue the success of the Obama years.
I knew my heart right then, because I travel this country, that's what I've done for thirty five years. I knew how many millions of people were out there. Thinking continue success I'm for can dine here right. Well, that's also an argument, but you know obviously that pans out there. It is very easy for a demagogue like Trump to channel that pain into anger and two division into fear right hatred right. How do you turn that around well for a while? Still recognizing it, because some people, you know who feeling that pain or feeling an economic dislocation that you mentioned will say.
Hope and change. That sounds nice. We've heard it to hope and change. That sounds great. That's easy for them to say these air, these air well off wealthy political leaders telling us this. What are you going to do for me? Well, first of all, Democrats have to take responsibility for the fact that there is some legitimacy in that in that point um when you, Allow people to get to the point I mean there is absolutely no reason that things got as bad as they were. Democrats were in charge a lot of that time. Right Democrats were in charge a lot of the time that the trajectory with unfolding of the largest massing inequality since one thousand nine hundred and twenty nine Democrats were in charge some of that time. Democrats when charged some of the time when we were moving towards uh a place where one percent of all Americans was only more wealth than the bottom. Ninety percent Democrats were in charge of at that time, including in charge of the economy. During that time, when we were leading to a place where forty percent of all am
after struggling on a daily basis, just to make basic costs so for those of us for those Americans who do not have a historical memory such as I do of a time when the Democrats do it for the people, no matter what, even if it was against overreach by capitalist forces, so that we, get the times when the Democrats, too often cozy up to those corporate forces and yeah, but you know they're, really their hearts in the right place too many Americans haven't seen that we don't recognize that, or certainly haven't seen that in their lives. In my opinion, while we have a republican party, that's been bought hook, line and sinker into the idea of a corporatist agenda. My sense two things going back. Words also Republicans, don't walk their talk, but Democrats too often don't talk their walk now with democratic policies. In my opinion, the vast majority of the time their policies seek to assuage the pain that is produced by
just economic policies, but it's too often just on the periphery, because too often crowds are unwilling to address the underlying forces and to challenge the underlying of forces underlying forces that make all that pain, inevitable? What policies would you pursue as president to challenge those underlying for well. The first thing we need to do is to recognize that the undue influence of money on our politics is the cancer underlying all these other cancers. One of the very sad things, of course, about the that Hillary did not win is that we don't have a chance anytime, soon of of appointing a Supreme court justice that might give us a path towards overriding, so overturning citizens united. So we have two things here: one we have the possibility of a constitutional amendment and possibility of legislation. If- and this is why I think it's important- that the Democrats Democrats, the Senate, as is important to the Democrats, win the hot the White House in twenty twenty- that would be the magic possibility here. If that's the case first thing, I would do
is submit to Congress legislation to establish public funding for federal campaigns, the issue, it's not enough. In my opinion, for the Democrats to say we want universal Health care Democrats also, need to be making very clear and standing on the realization, not just in what we know, but in what we are willing to say that the we don't have universal health care right now is because it would cut into short term profits for health, insurance companies and big pharma. We need to be willing to say, to name it and to say it and to challenge it that the reason not addressing the climate crisis adequately is because of the obstruction from and the fact that it would cut into short term profits for fossil fuel companies and the Democratic Party name and challenge the fat that we do not have a national security agenda based on creating peace in the world anytime. In the next few decades, because you really do that would cut into short term profits for defense contractors in the nuclear industry, and that is exactly what,
by challenging by naming it naming it by bringing the american people into that realization, rather than exploiting how often the american people, our brains, are scrambled and they don't really get what's going on here. The Democrats should not only stand for doing the right thing, but in order to do that, there has to stop being the moral equivocation on the part of too many Democrats by which the democratic party- has itself been willing to pander cozy up to and play footsies under the table with those same corporate forces because they to take the money. Do you see the support in Congress, even among Democrats and the public for publicly funded elections? Since that's my point here. Exactly my full. You know you do you use. I think you can pass that there. It took awhile and there are two kinds of Democrats out there and that's been played out in this campaign where two categories here, there's no doubt about it. The two category
is the increment list who say we can have it both ways. We can take their money. We can take 10s of thousands from security investment firms. We can take 10s of thousands of big farmer. We can take 10s or even more one thousand from oil but we're going to go and be an instrument, change yeah right, there's that and they're saying? Well, we'll make these incremental changes, and then there are those of us who say this has got to stop. We need a fundamental pattern disruption of the american political and economic status quo. Do you see HR one as income dental or sweeping sweeping so really good at that. I was very impressed by it and I think it's a perfect example of. If only have the house- and they don't have the Senate right, what do you do about as President this republican Party? Do you try to work with them? Do you try to work around them while
What do you do? Well, it depends on who has the power in the house and who has the power in the Senate say? Okay, well, let's say Democrats do take the Senate back, which is in the best scenario um, but we still have a sixty vote threshold. You get rid of the filibuster. There should be, they shouldn't be able to shut on the whole thing, but there should be. There should be a way of. Actually I mean there is a constitutional issue there, but I shouldn't, I don't think they should be able to cut cut cut off all conversation. Do you s s? So, let's say in this scenario where the Democrats don't win the Senate back and Mitch. Mcconnell hangs on what happens to your legislative agenda or do you have you have executive actions that you would pursue? Well, there are times when you take executive actions that do not represent executive overreach, but are appropriate. I believe, in the case of of um uh
Obama? They were because, let's not kid ourselves so Mcconnell said among our main goal is to make a bomb a one term. President right, he made it very very clear that they were not interested in any kind of of of positive positive relationship, positive in the sense that that is a great american political tradition, that it is a loyal opposition and that you try to work together. I I I am less interested in thinking about how
so, it's going to be. If it goes back to those days and more interested in talking about all that, we can do once we are delivered to a new possibility and I believe two things I think. First of all, in terms of the presidential election, this last presidential election, we need to remember Trump did not win just because the Trump voters voted for him trump one every bit as much because of how many of us stayed home right and how many of us voted for Joel Stein. Now I'm one of those people who believe that, if the, if the democratic establishment it kept their finger off the scale, ls and let it let let it be very, very clear that the people decided then either Hillary or Bernie would have won the primaries, but we would have all felt this goes back to the political to the to this. Emotional and psychological forces. It would have made everybody feel like okay, it's our candidate. I think we would have had a lot more democrats at the polls. That's number one number,
You look what happened in this last midterm. We have a lot to be hopeful about and all I think among women there's been a very delayed reaction. To how much misogyny was at the core of that campaign. Also with had the me too Movement man, women are so ready to express ourselves now with the spate of anti abortion laws, give women a chance, man we're so ready. The dominance of the Mitch Mcconnells of the world is on its way out. So what what's your theory of political change, because you know in this race we hear different things from different candidates. There are some who believe they can try to work with Mitch, Mcconnell and Republicans to compromise um Bernie Sanders calls for a political revolution. Um, you know, there's some kids that believe. We just need to elect more Democrats. How do you? How do you change the political system? How do you bring in those voters who stayed home in twenty? Sixteen, the Oba
the voters who stayed home in twenty. Sixteen, the third party voters. How do you bring? How do you inspire those people to come back into the political system? Look who's asking! You have the answer to that. I wish I did well. I think you do because you demonstrated um the issue. The only way to defeat a big lie is with big truth. Donald Trump will eat the half truth tellers alive. If all the Democrats do is is is nominate someone who's one of those kind of sort of people. We can have it both ways: people we can we can be sort of a better version of same old, same old trump will win again, but if willing to really lay it down. We have more than a swamp. We have an ocean of corruption. We need someone. I believe in this is why I'm running who's really willing to say what we all know to be true. That's the thing it's kind of like the
enter Cohen song. Everybody knows everybody knows, everybody knows what this country has become. We're not we're not functioning as a democr we were functioning as an aristocracy. We are a corporate talk or say we're, not a government whose policy is of the people by the people for the people. So much as it is of the a few of the people by a few of the people for people, the people of the multinational corporate interest by the multinational corporate interests and for the multinational corporate interests and many people, however dysfunctional this is, this is a it is I think they are at a point where the only way they have to express their rage is to refuse to vote. However, functional it is an act of rebellion, but those people you lay down and are honest with them. My experience
I and I and I have experience I have experience not only to my geographical troubles but also to my socio economic troubles. I've worked with people in palaces of work to people in prisons. I had an experience this last week. That was a really interesting demonstration to me of this. I don't care where people are who people are, how rich people are, how advantage or disadvantage people are. People are smart, people are smart and they are noble at their core and if you just talk truth to them, they appreciate that and they will rise to the occasion. The problem with the mayor of your experiences where you've persuaded people, I know you're, very persuasive, on a whole host of issues. Have you persuaded people
to change their mind about politics that seems to be at the core of their their political print, their political leanings. That seems to be that the core of our problem right now. I reminds people of America's mission statements. All men are created equal all. The critical God gave us all men, an alien, noble rights of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Governments are instituted to secure those rights and government of the people and by the people and for the people is not to perish from this earth and it's perishing on our watch and it is the responsibility of every generation when democracy is so threatened to rise up, and that is what happened. The the political Stab Smith, did not wake up one day and say: let's free the slaves, no, the people stepped in abolition, the abolitionist movement, the political stamp.
Smith did not wake up one day and say I think we should give women the right to vote. No, that's not what happened. The people stepped in all of the suffragette movement and the political establishment didn't wake up one day and say: let's dismantle segregation and just stop with this whole. Institutional is white, supremacy thing. No, it was the people. Stepping in all of this to all rights movement. It's happening again, it's the same. It's just a new formation. That's what symptoms do they just morph? It began with the aristoc with the aristocracy that we repudiated in seventy. Seventy six, the many revolutions with which we have repudiated, aristocratic forces throughout our history. It is simply time to repudiate them again. Let this not be the generation to wimp out on doing and it takes to push back against deeply, fundamentally undemocratic forces when they're out the door, and it was
naive of us to ever believe, and it you can't say well, I was healthy in twenty fifteen, so I don't have to eat well or die or x, size anymore. If you don't take care of your of your health, don't go be surprising when you lose your health. If you don't take care of your relationship, don't go by Surprise if you lose your relationship and I think part of the awakening of the last two years as we have not pro actively nurtured, and divided. The deep democratic in your monetary and principles that are at the core of right living with in the public domain, we need to harness that now he has harnessed fear and racism and bigotry and anti Semitism in all of those things for political purposes, but there are far more lovers than haters in this country. But those who hate hate with conviction and conviction is a force multiplier abolitionist had conviction, the women suffer had conviction and the civil rights workers
conviction we need conviction and just an over secularized corporatize mentality that plays it. Both ways lacks conviction lacks moral persuasive power. What do you say to a lot of activity on the left? I've heard this especially women, especially people of color, specially people in marginalized communities who say our anger is not only valid but useful in as a tool for political social change. I remember that you wrote in your in your first book that you used to be on angry left winger, and then you realize that I'm working an angry generation can't bring about peace, which is, I think, it's fascinating, you're. Obviously still a left wing is still very progressive, but you know you see this debate play out in the democratic party. I think Joe Biden, you know when he announced said something about we. Don't we don't need an angry nominee and a lot of people on the left got very upset about that and said, I'm angry. You know I've been marginalized. I've been discriminated against because of this presidency and I think that anger and that rage is useful as an I
tool. What do you think about that? I think moral outrage is not born of anger. Moral outrage is born of love and women. You know women have known. This ever. We express our fierceness were called angry, so we know there's a lot projection and a misuse of that word to hold people down when were expressing our passion, when you allow anger to be the fuel for your for your political activism, it's like choosing white sugar as opposed to a healthy diet as your nutritional support, so white I will give you an adrenaline high and you have all this energy and then you'll crash political changes. The marathon and it's not a sprint, and so it ultimately eats away at you yeah. If, if that's your motivation. You are serving it's higher and every bit as powerful to know you're serving the ages, something fierce rises up, particularly in a people with a history of oppression,
something fears and way more powerful than anger rises, when you say you did it to my grandpa parents and you're not going to do it to my kids, you've been a supporter did not anger. It's just that this ship stops now yeah. You been a supporter of the idea of a department of peace for awhile. How would a department of piece work? What would the funk? Well? First of all, there are two categories to address: one is international, and one is domestic. So, right now we have a seven hundred and fifteen billion dollar military budget. We have a forty billion dollar State department budget. Now, even Donald Rumsfeld said we must learn to wage peace and General Mattis said, if you're not going to fully fund the State Department, I'm going to have to buy more ammunition, develop mediation, diplomacy, etcetera that is within within state department. It's like, I said we need an integrative model. You can't just take. Listen, you have to cultivate your health right. So you
it just endlessly prepare for war and hope that you back up into peace, because war is the absence of peace, peace isn't the absence of war, so we have to proactively cultivate peace. Now there are peacebuilding age, CS within the state department. So remember the math here, seven hundred and 18th military forty billion for the State Department, and guess how much money. The specifically peacebuilding agencies get a couple percent that less than a billion than a one billion plus. U s a, I d is seventeen billion and the? U S: Institute of Peace gets a whopping, thirty six million so with public see it just like with your personal life. How you spend your money is an expression of your values, so are two issues here for a department of peace. I don't I would want to go in and with some. I think it would appear arrogant and disrespectful if I walk in there and say: okay we're to have an international department of peace there. I think that a lot of people who work in those agencies will go excuse me, we've been
doing this, and so I would want to beef up what they're already doing far far better funding for what they're doing, but all within an umbrella, realization that we not only have peace building issues that must be addressed internationally, but also domestically. We have domestic war zones? One of the reasons I want to Us Department of children and youth is because we have millions of american children living with chronic trauma going to school, where they don't even have the school supplies with which to adequately teach a child to read? and if a child cannot read by the age of eight, the chances high school graduation a drastically diminished and the chances of, course Oracion a drastically increased, but one of the other issues with these children, many of whom live in these domestic war zones is that psychologists tell us the PTSD of are Turning veteran from Afghanistan and Iraq is no more severe than these children's PTSD. Two to the fact that they live in such violent communities,
We need wraparound services. Community wraparound services trauma informed education, conflict resolution restorative just this mindfulness in the schools. Now some of the issues of peace building are the same. There's somebody's working in the Congo or working in. In the city of Chicago. Some of them are different, however, So I think if we have a United States department of peace, you make international part beefing up what already exists in in the state Department and then, on the on the domestic level address. All these issues of peace building that are necessary here in the United States. Under what circumstances would you use military force as commander in chief if there is a direct threat to an ally? a direct threat to the humanitarian order of the world that that seems to be the tough. Like what would stop Rwanda, hello, Syria, he would have. He would have said with the red line, and then it would have been his red line. Yes, I would have, would you have sent you would have sent forces to Syria, I believe
But when Obama said that's my red line, it should have been his red line. Yes, the other one, of course is when our own homeland is is threatened. I guess the question on sending forces for humanitarian missions- and this is this- is the one of the most challenging questions and all foreign policy. And U S farm osias. Well is how do you know when military force can make a difference in a potential genocide in a mass slaughter of civilians like in the case of Syria? In the case of you know, Rwanda, as you mention vs, you know I'm going to send in troops to an open, ended commitment. How do you define the mission? How do you define when to send us troops in to conduct a humanitarian mission. Political leadership is not just the scientists and art as his medicine. That's like saying: when is this operable, When is it not? When do we use came a window? We use
radiation. When do we take out the tumor it's integrated? Once again, I keep talking about this. It's integrative so one of the things that will have when I'm president, The president is that there will be so much a more robust and sophisticated relationship between defense and state state will have as the leader when I'm president world class humanitarian, a world class diplomat some whose understanding of what is going on inside people, is as deep as what's going outside people and we sit there and we figure it out. Just like you know just like remember them, the television show House, when they all sit around the table, given situation. What are the best, the best things to do, howl what we have in politics is what we used to have in medicine like seventy five years ago, where vasive measures and brute force. Basically physical brute force is, is your primary
problem solving option. That will not be true, but I do believe that there are times when, for instance, when you say would you have used force, let's say Rwanda and I would have gone in sooner. I remember during the during the boss in war I was. I was the Republicans on that like, when are those planes gonna go when of those planes, gonna go, and you know what this is an interesting issue for me in that situation, because I remember it very well. The american people are good people. We are we're good, I remember this would be before your time. I remember years ago there was some little girl and she, I think her name is Jessica. I'm not sure she fallen in a well. The whole country held its breath, and people would like meet in the hallway at work like did they get hurt? You know if they got her so when you show Us1 suffering person, Americans really care, particularly its children,
but for whatever reason, this denial and grandiosity sets in when it's millions and millions of them were easy to fool and distract from the We are easier to fool and distract from the suffering of millions. Then we are too full disk from the suffering of one. It's very interesting like that's. Why we're very good the screaming emergencies, but not necessarily with the silent emergencies, like the millions of american children who live in this chronic trauma every day? So what happens with the system, a socio pathic economic and political system, the way it up rates is do what you want to do and in whatever suffering results make sure it's on the other side of town or on the other side. With the world so that people don't see it 'cause. If they see it, they care. Americans can see it we care. So what happened with Bosnia is an to Clinton's credit Clinton kept saying I want to go in there. I want to go in there and it was the Europeans who who were holding back and then
all these all these stories and they started, making it into the newspapers in the United States of how twelve boys having their throats slit, how they would go in and grab little boys and slept there boats once those stories made the american newspapers enough, you could just feel it critical mass. You could feel it. Nato planes were like within days. Though that you know when you speak to the contents of the, when you speak to the contents of the american people, that's what's wrong with our politics. It panders to popularity and it panders to self interest I can do this for you. I can do this for you, I'm not that conversation with the american people, I'm saying we saying we together can do the right thing. What are the challenges with that is, though you know, George W Bush would use stories of mass atrocities or atrocities.
Committed by Saddam Hussein to justify a war in Iraq that I think we all believe was a mistake. So how do you? How do you you know? Well, the point is he wasn't a truth, teller right? Well, it was. It was an awful dictator, but at some point sometimes I think the United States has to look and see all right. This is an awful dictate if we had our way we would not want this person in power, but do we commit US forces in us lives and US treasure to trying to remove this person, knowing that the consequences of remove Well, you could be worse than well, of course, not, of course not. We can't go invading every country or seeking regime change in every country that is abusing human rights, for instance, I mean obviously um and we did not go into Iraq because of because Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator. Was me into his line of thought. It was a terrible dictator is meet with. People was simply use right. That's a two to exploit the emotions. Two two, two two men
populate the emotions of a good people who were not being told the truth and who were led into a terrible, terrible mistake. I wanna ask you about faith and spirituality. What do you think about some of the polls and studies that say Americans, especially young Americans, are becoming steadily less religious or at least less tied to a specific religion? What do you think? That is because I think that sometimes the institutional dogma and doctrine got in the way of the deep, mystical and spiritual truth. It is at the heart of all the great religious systems of the world. So even though, while it's true and not a bad thing- that there is less interest in a certain kind of dog man, like a doctrinaire religious institutional identity. There is clearly an uprising. I mean this is obvious. This is you know. Where do you think all that mindfulness stuff comes from? Where do you think all those yoga mats come from? Where do you think all this health and wellness stuff comes from? It comes from the spiritual center, which is uh?
I and well, and mainstreamed in the United States, and I would know something about that. What role do you think faith and spirituality play in our pluralistic democracy? Abolitionist movement arose from the early evangelicals and quakers. Many of the leaders of the women suffragette Movement were Quakers and Doctor King Memo earth was a Baptist preacher and it was the southern christian leaders at conference. Hello, all of the great social justice movements have been a product of a spiritual impulse. That's why, when I said before, it's always when the people step in and the people step in when the heart says: okay, too much, we've got to stop this. What do you say is president to the evangelical Christian who says my religion dictates that abortion is more murder and homosexuality is an abomination. This is America, we're free society. Nobody owes it to anyone to agree with you to agree with me or to agree with the president, and I believe,
but abortion is a moral issue. I simply believe that it is an issue of private morality and not public morality. I believe that the moral decision making and the biological choices are to be made by the woman herself, and it is an attack on the agency of women to seek to deny them that right. So, if p believe, will believe that is that abortion is a moral abomination. That is their right that, but that is very different than saying that they have the right to stop another woman or any woman from making that choice for herself. I guess the challenges when is when can your personal spirituality, private morality, influence public morality and public law, and when shouldn't it when it has to do with the rights of the individual versus the common good? I mean that is the art of of of governance. We are always seeking to balance or when we're in right minds were seeking to balance individual liberty, and I don't know
little bit of a libertarian streak, the older I get when it comes to the individuals it's, but that has to be He has to be balanced with a concern for the common good and it's not as difficult to make that delineation a cz. You might think if that's actually, your aim right well, um would. Ah, why do you think Republicans attend church more than Democrats? What you think about that divide, especially white white Democrats. There seems to be this. You know you look at the polls at the end of a presidential election.
One of the biggest gaps is. You know if you attend church, more often you're more likely to be rubbed republican. He ten church, less often you're more likely to be a Democrat, and I guess it was actually keeping the gap somewhat. Narratives that black Democrats are are quite religious and go to church, but white Democrats, especially, I don't know, I think it's it's a limited definition of church in to some people. They're a meeting is the church yeah to some people. A meditation group is their church, so I'd be real, careful yeah, it's a pretty old fashioned view of what it means to go to church. What are you surprised that Trump's strongest support? Maybe the demographic group that supports him more than any other in the country- are evangelical Christians like what what do you think's going on with that When I was growing up there, was a potent religious left during
the Vietnam WAR down the Berrigan Brothers, William Sloane, coffin, and also traditionally, both Catholics and Jews, we're very very involved with social justice issues? What has happened in the last few decades, the Catholic Scott? very singular and their focus on abortion and Jews because very singular and their focus on Israel and in both cases, this sucked a lot of juice out of what formerly been a powerful religious backing for social Justice and Social justice reforms after after the sixties into the seventies. You know I grew up in a in a generation where we rom dos and Alan Watts in the morning and went to political. We went to another war protests in the afternoon, so during that time of the sixties and the seventies, the issue of
revolutionary cultural change with both external and internal. It was cultural, sexual musical, and it was political after Primarily, I think, due to those to the assassinations, there was a rip and many people took the sort of traditional political that had to do with addressing symptoms, but not necessarily cause and a lot of that traditional political activism went back to a time. Where was all the check up and making external policy change. Then those who and I was myself, one of those who felt a deeper calling to address the causal issues of societal dysfunction and societal, repair and chain change, had to do with addressing internal issues, but a lot of that movement disconnected itself chronically from political activism. This was a mistake on both parts
and both sides sort of mutually derided the other and those days are coming to an end, and now many of the people who are d with traditional political change, our themselves, people who Aventura be there in a a they go to spiritual support groups. They get it. They know that we need a more holistic and integrative approach, and those who are involved in more spiritual communities, have done to understand that you can't use spirituality is an excuse for narcissism, it's and chronic self reference, and so that has begun to change. I sometimes wrestle with the idea that faith and spirituality are often about acceptance and finding inner peace. Well, I'm a Jew, and that's that's not where, where and there's no. Actually, there is no serious spirit or religious path anywhere to gives any of us a pass on addressing the suffering of other sentient beings.
So there is so you see it is outward it's both and it is both They just you know, tell me how to use a said, feed the poor right now. I believe. I believe that I just a you, know politics and activism, and what about to clarify. If I may, what I said to his meant in those was are and Judaism, there is the phrase Tikkun Olam to repair the world, and also in Judaism, one of the one of the old rabbinical teachings is. You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you permitted to abandon it, but you could look at all the great religious systems and see their an injunction if, Inter printed that way to the lot that the law of love is as a command yeah I'll change the world? Yes, you too, there there's a story that someone told me, I think of it as the transformation between the good Samaritan and the conscious samaritan,
so, the good Samaritans, walking down the road and the good Samaritan sees a better and give them arms. And then the good Samaritan continues its journey down the road and sees another back and give them arms, and then the journey continues. The the good Samaritan continues down the road and sees another better and give them arms. After that, the six of the seven figure the good Samaritan says himself. Why are there so many backers? That's how I feel about my own transformation yeah over the last twenty years. It's one thing to say to people who are in careers like my own. Your job is to help people transcend for cold circumstances. I understand that some difficult circumstances are just a part of life that somebody you love, died a heart breaker. You know these things happen. You got diagnosed with an illness. Your child is on here when whatever it is, but over the last twenty years, people like myself are being called upon.
To address the suffering. That is to unnecessary too many times to address. Need to navigate circumstances that simply should not be so prevalent in the richest country in the world. I guess I'll phrase the question a different way. 'cause I was listening to you talk to Oprah during that super soul. Podcast an you both talked about how happiness is really finding peace, finding inner peace- and you know someone who is in politics and has been in politics on my all. My life, part of the reason that I am in a constant state of agitation, is because if the world around us and everything that's wrong in the world, and how do you as someone who is also very spiritual and now in politics, sort of navigate the tension between having that adjective about all the wrongs and injustices in the world around you and still finding that piece. There's a difference between happiness and joy, I'm joyful.
I am deeply joyful, but I'm not happy when I see things go down that I know should not go down. Pieces of strategy Martin Luther king said you have very little morally persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt when you do the spiritual work getting rid of judgment seeking to dissolve personal judge. Grievance, it's not so that you would then become. You know. Sometimes people talk about spirituality like it. It makes it. It diminishes your brain cells, it doesn't make you less intelligent, but it makes you more strategic so much for joining us here and good luck on the track. It was an honor to meet. Thank you. Thank you.
Transcript generated on 2019-09-23.