Marianne Williamson's first best sellers were self-help books. She was a child of the '60s who believed the world changes one person at a time as, one by one, people transform themselves from the inside out.
Williamson has lately turned to politics. Earlier this month, she explained to a Utah audience what she hopes for from government - a transformation of the world from the outside. Williamson spoke at a fund-raiser for U.S. Senate candidate Scott Leckman.In her latest book, "The Healing of America," Williamson says that if America were an individual who came to her seeking counseling, she'd confront America on several issues: "Number one, you are not really sober . . . you are obsessed with material things . . . you project a lot . . . you neglect your kids . . ."
Not that Leckman came to her seeking counseling. He merely met her at a conference, where she was the keynote speaker and he was an attendee - a Salt Lake surgeon who believes in grassroots democracy - and thus had recently found himself running for office.
He didn't come to her for advice, really. He asked her if she'd come to Salt Lake and speak at a luncheon for him, which she did, at Little America. Williamson used the occasion to give Leckman advice on how to run for office. She invited the audience to give him advice as well.
Our Founding Fathers believed that the power that is of God resides in each human being, she said. "The spirit of goodness could be counted on to come forth as to govern a nation." What Leckman must do is not worry about winning, Williamson said, because if winning is your goal, you will make compromises. But if truth is your goal, if you only speak the heartfelt truth, then you will win, sooner or later, she believes.
One woman in the audience said she was just emerging from decades of apathy, thoroughly sick of promises that mean nothing. This was her first political event, she said. Another told him she didn't understand whether he was for or against HMOs, having just heard him speak to the subject. With a little coaching, he got his answer down to a simple: I believe in the Patient's Bill of Rights. But the Republicans in Congress won't even bring it up for a vote.
"We have got to see the fire in your belly," Williamson said. "Don't worry about getting your message out to 1,000 people. Your purity lies in getting the truth out to these 50 people."