By: Eliza Wagman
We’ve all heard the buzz – Oprah Winfrey is being mass encouraged to run for presidential office in 2020. This is, of course, largely due to her being a black, presumably liberal, woman – the opposite of current president Donald Trump. But, while we may want to move as far away from his identity and behavior as we can, we should look closely at what Oprah and Trump have in common – and what damage would continue to occur because of such similarities.
When it comes down to it, Oprah and Trump are both entrepreneurial television celebrities, and nothing more. Oprah has no political experience, and neither did Trump prior to election. Why are we content to occupy the highest political office in the country with people who haven’t the slightest idea what’s involved in government procedures, the workings of policy making, and the effects of global politics?
Our glamorizing of celebrities has gone too far when we mistake wealth and fame – and even universal likeability – for political competence. Oprah has shared little of even her political views in the past; though it is a safe bet she is a democrat, there is plenty of room for non-progressive stances within the democratic party. One thing we do know already is that Oprah has been vocally pro-Israel, and refused a meeting with pro-Palestine activists in 2015 – so, despite being a woman of color herself, who would undoubtedly be much more sensitive towards racial issues in her presidency than Trump, it is dangerous to assume that she will be the face of global racial equality.
Celebrities are unfit to jump from television to the highest position in American politics, no matter how well educated, how well spoken, or how down to earth they are. If celebrities want to enter the political sphere, that’s wonderful – they can start at the bottom and work their way up, just as every seasoned politician has (including every president, until Trump). I love Oprah, but in 2020, let’s elect someone who has the experience needed to tackle America’s deep, systemic crises, and patch up the political mess made by the first TV star.
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