Why I Ran

"You have a Bobby Kennedy here. I can't think of anything you could do more important this week than making sure she gets elected."  --Congressman Alan Grayson  

"I think that several of the candidates have significant strengths.  In my opinion, however, only Marianne has the possibility of making a dramatic difference if she wins the seat.  I can picture Marianne becoming a national progressive leader, in the vein of Elizabeth Warren or Dennis Kucinich."  --Congressman Alan Grayson

I ran for U.S. Congress because I believe America needs a serious course correction. Our democracy is in danger of dying a death by a thousand cuts, as a combination of shrinking civil liberties, expanding corporate influence and domestic surveillance are assaulting its basic tenets.

We are currently in the process of dismantling the most basic social contract between the American people and our government, as "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people" has transitioned before our eyes into " a government of a few of the people, by a few of the people, and for a few of the people." And this did not come out of nowhere: specific banking, tax and trade policies led to this problem, siphoning off huge portions of our material wealth over the last few decades into the hands of a very few. That's the bad news, but there is good news as well: we can change this! Anything is possible in America. And with elections, we have the opportunity to prove it.

As Congresswoman, I will stand passionately for the fair circulation of opportunity that makes our democracy what it is: the average citizen's access to appropriate political influence, educational excellence and economic opportunity. To me, that is the American dream. At this point in our history, however, we are slowly making a mockery of that ideal. I will do everything in my power to reverse this trend.

Moneyed forces now wield an influence on our political functioning totally disproportionate to the influence wielded by the average American citizen. And this issue -- the issue underlying most all others -- is responsible for huge amounts of unnecessary suffering in the United States and elsewhere. From child poverty to untenable college loan debt to massive incarceration, unjust social forces weigh down millions of lives. From environmental devastation to GMO's in our food, the wellbeing of our planet and our people are being sidelined by huge economic forces over which we seem to have no control. And until we get the money out of politics, there is no reason to believe that much of this will change.

 In response to this, we must develop a new, independent conversation and display our commitment to it at the polls. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, "As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew." It is our thinking that must change before our government will change. The American people must genuinely rededicate ourselves to the values of democracy, in order to empower ourselves to repudiate the forces that would wrestle it from our hands.

We are the inheritors of a magnificent legacy, as generations before us did what was necessary in their time to create an ever more perfect union. Slavery ended because abolitionists began the move to abolish it. Women got the vote because Suffragettes rose up to achieve it. Legalized segregation ended because the civil rights movement paved the way for Civil Rights legislation. Now, in our era, it’s time for the people of the United States to rise up and once more do what is necessary to correct our country’s course. Our government has become a system of legalized bribery and corruption, and only the people ourselves can change that.

The political status quo cannot be trusted to fix a problem that they themselves created. As an Independent member of Congress beholden to no party machinery (though I will caucus with Democrats), I will stand for human rather than economic values as the ordering principle of our society. In Congress, I will support universal access to pre-school (the most powerful poverty alleviator known); resist the war on women; promote free college in exchange for one year of national service; work to end the War on Drugs; protect Medicare and Social Security; support legislation for a U.S. Department of Peace building; and support a Constitutional Amendment that outlaws the undue influence of money on our politics (please read more about my policy positions here).

The added value I feel I bring to this task is a national audience among whom I can help to popularize the progressive changes most needed in America today. I will help create a politics of conscience and a new bottom line, fostering a more enlightened perspective about America and our role in the world today.

California’s primary election is on June 3rd, and I hope you will help me win it. Please join with me in taking a stand for a new conversation, a new politics, and in time a new and better world.