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Oprah

We don’t need another celebrity president, even if it’s Oprah

Have we learned nothing?

Oprah Winfrey – talk show host, activist and philanthropist known the world over for being true to her causes, nice, and cool – gave a really stunning awards speech at the Golden Globes. It was positive, and looked forward to a brighter future.

“We all know the press is under siege these days,” she said to the audience, probably on some level responding to the bile Trump spills out when he’s squalling about Fake News Awards. “But we also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice, to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies.”

Oprah, wearing black, also spoke passionately about the current movement against sexual assault that’s permeating the entertainment industry and beyond, zoning in on the moving story of Recy Taylor, and detailing racial injustice. Many took this rousing speech as a signal that the TV personality could run for president in the near future. A source told CNN that Oprah had been thinking seriously about it.

“She launched a rocket tonight. I want her to run for president,” Meryl Streep said to the Washington Post.

“Oprah for president? She’s got my vote,” tweeted Lady Gaga.

“I think she needs to do what she wants to do,” Vera Farmiga told press on the red carpet. “If she feels compelled in her heart to lead this country…then my blessings are with her."

Democrat and Republican politicians showed support for her supposed presidential run on Twitter, while a former campaign manager for Obama asked publicly that she give him a call. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said: “We welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else.”

But really, President Winfrey is Not A Good Idea. Both anti-Trump right-wingers and liberals seem to be really into it, and yes, Oprah is great at what she does and has been good to people, but that doesn’t qualify her to be in one of the most powerful political positions in the world.

Celebrities should be allowed to thrive in the celebrity sphere, do themselves, their philanthropy, and not be driven by delusions that they’re destined for political success. It seems we haven’t really learned that much from former Apprentice host and president Donald Trump. It’s strange that, while the entire left-wing conversation surrounding the 2016 presidential election focused on Trump’s lack of actual qualifications or political experience, Oprah is the candidate we champion for 2020.

Of course, Oprah isn’t the usual celebrity: she donated over $10 million in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Rita to help build houses in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi. Donald Trump’s donations –though he brags regularly about vague numbers – have never been totally confirmed. Her Angel Network has raised tens of millions since 1998. She’s advocated passionately for LGBT people, poor people, girls in need of education and those affected by Aids. Drawing on her own experience of childhood abuse, she pushed for change that brought about the ‘Oprah Bill’, which protects children from known abusers kept on a database.

Her own story – growing up so severely poor that she wore potato sacks as a child to the self-made millionaire she is today – is undeniably inspiring. But with no political experience, ‘inspiring’ is pretty low on the list of skills the U.S is in dire need of for those governing it. 

Other than that though, her political beliefs – healthcare, foreign policy – have never been thoroughly explored. We do know that she’s probably pro-Israel, and her views on Iraq have been questionable. She’s also spoken in favour of gun control, and giving undocumented people in the U.S a fair chance at citizenship. She seems mostly progressive, but, like it’s been outlined on Twitter: does this qualify Oprah to make decisions on drone warfare?

We know that she’s been supportive of the Democrats: publicly endorsing both Obama and Hillary Clinton in their presidential bids. Though weirdly enough, Trump once revealed he thought she would make the perfect running mate.

Clearly, she’s nothing like Trump: the eloquence and power she showed at the Golden Globes, and across her career, is wonderful. Oprah Winfrey is a figure of hope and inspiration for women of colour, the same way WoC politicians like Tulsi Gabbard, Joyce Beatty and Alma Adams are. But let’s elevate those focused on their current political path, rather than campaign for yet another celebrity to fasttrack their way to the Oval Office. 

Oprah said as recently as last year that she had no intention of running for office. Let’s hope she stays in her current, very powerful position.