The Case Against Oprah Winfrey
This past week, following a speech she gave at the Golden Globes, American media has been more or less falling over themselves at the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running for President of the United States in 2020.
This is not a good idea.
We don’t need entertainers as Presidents, we need politicians as Presidents. Now of course our current President was formally an entertainer, but there’s a lot of concern by Democrats and some Conservatives about Trumps competencies and effectiveness. There is also evidence that he was unprepared for the job of President and unfamiliar with some basic concepts of politics, things that a candidate from a political background would have been much better suited for. Of course, with regards to 2016, Hillary Clinton was not a great choice either but we need to be looking ahead and not in the rear view mirror.
With regards to 2020, the election of Trump and the fervor surrounding a possible Oprah Winfrey run almost make it appear as if we are entering a new era of American politics where only those with the highest wealth and largest public exposure have any chance of attaining the highest office in the land. That is not a good place to be. Politics should never be elitist and they should also not be treated as though they were just another means of entertainment or cultural engagement.
Regardless of how you feel about Trumps Presidency, most Americans would probably agree that we don’t need a bunch of actors, musicians, TV personalities and YouTube stars stepping up to run for political office…at least not without building some experience in the political arena first. Usually that happens by getting elected locally, learning the ropes, and working your way up from there.
Politics are an important institution that can lead to significant changes in our backyards, our cities, our nation and our world. Does it not make sense then, that we should only trust the office of President to someone who has proven they are competent to hold it?
The framers of our Constitution felt that anyone should be able to run for President. Politics are unique in this way. If you ran an electronics company and needed a new CEO, you wouldn’t hire someone off the street who has no experience in electronics, regardless of that persons wealth or background. You would find someone with a suitable background and experience and a demonstrated knowledge of the competencies required for the job.
With regards to the Presidency, anyone can apply for the job, but we, the people of this nation, are the ones who get to decide who gets chosen for it.
Of course Trump is not the first “Hollywood President”. That honor goes to Ronald Reagan. While you can point to Reagan as an example of how a former entertainer can be an effective President, we must remember that Reagan was NOT a political novice when he won the White House as he had previously been governor of California for 8 years. Though he was successful outside of politics, he was also successful as a politician and knew how the game was played. The same cannot be said for Trump…or Oprah.
And that’s really the most important thing: The office of President of the United States should be held by someone with requisite political experience regardless of what other background he or she may have. Oprah may be viewed positively by many Americans, but she has never held office before.
This has nothing to do with race, skin color, ethnicity, wealth or celebrity. It has to do with the importance of having good, strong candidates running for, and being elected to, the highest office in the land.
On many levels, 2016 was a decision between two considerably flawed candidates. That’s something most of us don’t want to repeat anytime soon and a Trump/Oprah showdown in 2020 would do exactly that.
Oprah has accomplished a lot for herself, but she doesn’t need to run for President. She would be more effective in supporting an eventual candidate than becoming one herself.
Oprah probably wouldn’t hire someone with no experience in TV to run one of her networks and we shouldn’t “hire” a TV star with no experience in politics to be President. Or at the very least…we shouldn’t do it again.