Oprah could run for President of the United States and win. I don’t have any doubts about that. That doesn’t mean she should. Here’s why:
I believe that there are 5 circles of influence where individuals wield real world changing power:
2. Silicon Valley
3. Washington DC
4. The Church
5. The Bank
That is – entertainers, tech moguls, politicians, high profile faith leaders, and the uber wealthy.
Occupy any 1 of those circles and you have the ability to really influence. Oprah occupies at least 2 already. She doesn’t need to be President to have a major impact on society – and she probably shouldn’t be.
For one, the same reasons people deemed Trump unfit to be president are the same reasons people cite to validate Oprah’s fitness to be president. “He doesn’t have any political experience.” “He’s a TV star.” “He’s an out of touch billionaire who can’t relate to the average American.” “He’s been successful in business but running a company and running the country aren’t the same.”
Oprah has no political experience.
Oprah is a TV star.
Oprah is a billionaire (although likely not as out of touch considering she started from the bottom).
Oprah is a successful CEO.
We shouldn’t assume that she would be any more capable than Trump (besides not being a complete idiot and horrible human being) at running a government and we should exercise the same level of scrutiny when throwing her name around for the most powerful office on earth. We don’t accept people without legal experience to try our cases, or people with no medical training to manage our health – why is it that we’re willing to roll the dice on the U.S. Presidency? If Oprah is serious about a presidential run, and we are serious about getting her there, let’s gear her up for a run for Senate first to better prepare her to be successful in governance.
Again, I believe Oprah could run for President and win right now, that doesn’t mean she should.
The U.S. Presidency is a lot more than winning and losing, yet that seems to be the only thing people are focused on these days. “Oprah is the one person that could beat Trump.” Probably so, because she’s loved by many. But I prefer my popularity contests be reserved for high school yearbook superlatives and not the U.S. Presidency. I’m less concerned about winability (remember Obama was a huge underdog vs. Clinton in his 1st campaign and Clinton was the shoe-in favorite vs. Trump) and more concerned with who will be the best for the economy, education, immigration, health care, etc. Being liked by many is not a good enough reason to be eligible for the United States presidency, and in Oprah’s case, it’s also the reason why she shouldn’t run.
Oprah isn’t just a person whom we love, she’s a brand – one that she’s built from the ground up over many years. We love her because we love her giving heart; her motherly spirit to girls all over the world; her support of education for black men; her art that centers the lived experiences of women and people of color; her penchant for reading. We love all of that and all of that is Oprah. She’s our auntie in our minds. The White House is a place where all those things go to die.
The White House isn’t a place where “you get free health care and you get free health care!” without an ugly fight in Congress. The White House isn’t a place where you can write, direct, and produce your own narrative without the approval of Washington puppeteers pulling your strings. And the White House still isn’t a place that celebrates women – specifically black women – centerstage with praise and lifetime achievement awards.
Quite the contrary.
The White House is where Auntie O goes to die only to resurrect as President Winfrey. A president who may authorize a drone strike that results in civilian casualties. A president who will have to compromise on key issues to assist one segment of Americans, leaving another to suffer. A president who will become less accessible to the public. A president who will have to lead the whole country and not just black people and white women. A president who will be the recipient of the most fierce attacks of racism and misogyny in the history of the Oval. A president whose legacy will be reduced to her time in office – both successes and blunders.
Quite frankly, I don’t want to see Oprah anywhere near the White House. We don’t deserve her and she deserves better than a legacy of building herself up only to be beaten back down whilst saving us from a country that doesn’t value and appreciate black women. There are already enough stories like that.
I prefer the story that ends with everyone at a cookout on Wakanda hosted by Queen Oprah, driving away in our new cars with Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go” blaring in the background.
Yea, Oprah for Queen!