Oprah Winfrey gave a powerful speech at the 75th Golden Globe Awards after she took to the stage to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award. The speech has aroused theories that she may be 'actively thinking' about running for President in 2020 to challenge Donald Trump.
Before I get into whether or not I think this would be a good thing, let me start off by saying the speech itself was moving and should be listened to. Oprah is a great orator and given her media experience, she knows how to hit the right notes.
The speech in its entirety was over 9 minutes long. She spent the majority of the speech speaking on issues that the #MeToo movement has brought to the table of discussion. She used the example of Recy Taylor, a black woman raped by 6 white men in Alabama during the Civil Rights era to make her point about how the time of men getting away with abusing women was at an end. She received a standing ovation after that. It was the perfect end to a great speech.
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The question we have to ask ourselves is this, is a good speech enough? We learned throughout the Obama administration that you can have a good orator who might speak well but doesn't push the envelope far enough when it comes to issues facing communities in America - especially the black community.
We need a true progressive in power now more than ever. If Oprah Winfrey can be that, then I'll support her.
One of the only cons of her being President is that she's a celebrity who has kept her views on certain touchy political issues secret. We don't know where she stands on issues of war and peace. We don't know where she stands on tax reform and Wall Street reform - on top of many other issues.
There are quite a few pros, however. Most importantly, anyone who's not a white supremacist is better than Trump right now. If it came down to Oprah versus a gang of neoliberals like Cory Booker and Andrew Cuomo, I'd support Oprah on her popularity alone. She has name recognition going for her and I'd imagine most people have a favorable view of her.
Political experience is a little overrated. Yes, experience allows you to know how to respond to certain problems, but the argument can be made that it also hinders you because it makes you more of a political animal - a typical career politician. So I'm not so much worried about her experience as I am her judgment and policy positions.
Another pro is that Oprah is outspoken on issues facing the black community, and to some, this is a divisive issue that's a cause for concern. Unlike Barack Obama, who tip-toed around racial issues, Oprah has spoken on issues facing her community her entire career. Not in a cheap political way to score points, but in a genuine way because she's been the victim of racism herself and she comes out of the black American experience.
Oprah has been a vocal supporter of Ava DuVernay and her powerful documentary called '13th,' which I wrote about back in December of 2016. There's a sit-down discussion Oprah and Ava had that's currently available for viewing on Netflix along with the documentary itself. So, she's on the right side of criminal justice issues. Would she push the envelope as much as I would? Probably not, but most people aren't as radical as I am...so I don't expect that from her.
I have an open mind about Oprah running for President. I think she'd be a strong candidate, and I think she could become President of the United States. I definitely think she could.
There are some pitfalls when it comes to celebrity leadership. When it comes to Oprah, I think the biggest pitfall will be the loss of some of her fanbase. She'll almost certainly take a position on an issue that lots of people might not like. So if she runs, she has to be prepared for political animals who come after her and to try to destroy her image. The lengths the far right went to destroy the image of Obama, and the lengths they're going through now to destroy his legacy should serve as a warning sign to Oprah. She is dealing with vehement white supremacists who are currently giving political cover to arguably the most corrupt administration in recent American history. They will stop at nothing to destroy her...and they will try.
Another issue I have with celebrity leadership is the ease by which the Establishment might be able to use her face as political cover to continue business-as-usual. Given her lack of political experience, I think it would be fairly easy for them to push her around on certain issues.
All things considered, however, I think she should run. That's not an endorsement, I didn't say I'd be first in line to vote for her. However, there's no good reason why she shouldn't run. I believe in democracy and if the people want Oprah 2020, then they should get Oprah 2020...assuming she's ready for the racist attacks. Regardless of whether or not she wins the nomination, it would be a good show and she'd add much-needed blackness to what will surely be a field dominated by old white men.