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UNT College Democrats host Q&A with Marianne Williamson

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Former presidential candidate and author Marianne Williamson joined UNT’s College Democrat’s Thursday evening  Zoom meeting in which she discussed the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election: the rise of fascism.

After a half-hour of questions and introductions from the chapter officers, Williamson joined and offered her beliefs regarding the current state of progressive politics in Texas.

“You almost made it this time, turning Texas blue,” Williamson said. “I know that needle will keep moving. When I was growing up in Texas, some of the great progressive leaders— Ramsey Clark, Jim Hightower— were still around. I remember Barbara Jordan. I’m glad to see a great resurgence of progressivism in Texas.”

She then moved onto the immediate aftermath of U.S. President Joe Biden’s inauguration, discussing the potential fallout.

“It’s a great day in that it’s an interruption of a trajectory that I believe would have been calamitous for the U.S. if Trump had won a second term,” Williamson said. “But I’m not naive and I assume you’re not either about the contests that stand before us. There’s a real struggle for the heart of the Republican Party and a struggle for the heart of the Democratic Party.”

International studies and political science student Caleb Naylor said he “really appreciated the way [Williamson] talked about the rise of the violent Right in America, especially the Proud Boys.”

“How do we stop this and make this an environment where they can’t spread and grow?” Naylor said.

Violence from far-right groups has been a talking point for a while. But the conversation was reignited after the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The Proud Boys have been identified as among the groups who participated.

Williamson brought a recent episode of her podcast in which she interviewed former Neo-Nazi Christian Piccolini.

“It’s now a loose network of the white supremacist hate groups,” Williamson said. “There’s the Neo-Nazis, there’s the Proud Boys, there’s the Boogaloos, there are the Oath Keepers. [Piccolini] says that the problem goes much deeper than people think. They’re much more sophisticated in their recruitment techniques. He was even talking about how they’ll go into chat rooms for depressed teenagers […] We have given a blow to the movement with the defeat of Donald Trump. But I think we would be naive to think the problem is gone.”

Williamson spoke of why she chose to campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, citing what she believed were issues with public policy and alienation.

“I saw how many people whose lives were not struck by God or acts of disease, but rather bad public policy,” she said. “People who had done everything right, but still had to work two to three jobs. People who had done everything right but were still loaded by college loan debts they couldn’t see themselves getting out of for decades.”

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She said the failure to address this resulted in an overworked, desperate population suffering from a “mental health crisis.”

“The government’s supposed to solve the mental health crisis,’” Williamson said. “My attitude: stop driving people crazy. The fact we are looking to the same government that passed these policies to solve the mental health crisis they themselves created. I went, ‘these [people] need someone to tell them the truth.’”

Before leaving, Williamson left words of encouragement.

“When I was your age, we stopped the Vietnam War,” Williamson. “So, I know what a young generation of Americans can do when they stand up and refuse to shut up. My very, very best to all of you and thank you.”

In addition to Williamson’s Q&A, the meeting included introductions of the chapter officers, current events and goals for the local elections in May.

Chapter President Keaton Hare also unveiled a QR-coded resource list in which members could contribute to via untdems@gmail.com. The list provides “free or low-cost resources for anyone living within the Denton and DFW area, including COVID relief, Mutual Aid and community resources for those in need.”

“We’re soon going to post these QR codes around campus and the Square,” Hare said. “If anyone has any better ideas about where we could share it the best. But for now, we’re going to share it in those areas we know the best for now.”

Also present was music major Alison Murphy-Powell, 33, who is running in May’s local elections for Denton city council. Murphy-Powell said she believed the city needed to invest in more affordable housing through further subsidized housing, try to exert more control over the housing market to keep rent down, provide more funding to Denton County Public Health and focus on vaccine resources.

Courtesy UNT College Democrats

Article Originally Published by Will Tarpley on North Texas Daily

Source: North Texas Daily

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