Marianne Williamson is a person who believes lots of things I don't believe. For starters, she is an anti-depressant skeptic and I am very thankful for the SSRI I am on. But beyond the specifics of her New-Agey worldview, I do appreciate that she injects something more full-blooded into the Democratic debates. When Williamson openly eschewed a policy conversation for a rambling argument about how only the "politics of love" could defeat "the politics of hate," Vox was so offended by the lack of technocracy that they jumped into furious action.
Some of the criticisms are fair, but let me try to say what I think Williamson gets right, and how this fits into a broader critique of the metrics we use in our politics. Williamson is observing, I think correctly, that something wicked has infiltrated our politics. It is hard to define, it is hard to source, and so countering it might have to take on similarly obscure language about "the good."
I know this is all annoyingly vague, so let me give a concrete example of where I think this could impact politics. I can't really see any technocratic justification for paying reparations to the descendants of slaves. I don't believe it would have the intended impact. I think it would have the perverse consequence of allowing the State to say it had "made amends." Finally, the logistics of deciding who qualifies are themselves extremely complex. That being said, I am sort of disgusted that these rational complaints are the first place my mind goes when considering a topic with such profound moral implications.
What's incontrovertible is that a debt is owed. There is a great weight on the soul of America, and I'm not sure time alone is enough to remove its downward pressure. Our society needs to find a way to communicate love and care to a people we viciously abused for hundreds of years, and right now we are failing to deliver the message. If a policy can communicate some of that care, does it matter how many people it moves into the middle class or how much it closes the wealth gap?
I'm honestly not sure, and I'm not sure politics is the realm where such expressions of care should take place. That being said, Williamson was the only one on stage even considering things at this level, and that I support.