I, like most people, was in awe of Oprah’s impassioned, eloquant, and timely speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday night. She spoke in terms of hope, of the future, instead of highlighting the present fears so many of us harbor. Oprah is an incredibly positive role model, a woman of great success, prestige, grace and moral grounding.
But I don’t want Oprah to run for president. It’s not because she isn’t tremendously successful, intelligent and savvy — she is all of those things — but she isn’t a politician. And while like lawyers and proctologists, no one really LIKES politicians, you wouldn’t want Jimmy Kimmel checking your ass for cancer, would you?
I went to a university just outside of DC that produced a lot of government and politics majors. Kids who have been running for office since the 2nd grade. Who studied policies, foreign affairs, economics, and law in order to grasp the incredible undetaking of running a town, a city, a state, or a country. Just because someone is successful in one area of industry, doesn’t mean they are qualified for another. Would you want Oprah grooming your dog? Would you want Trump fixing your car? Would you want Justin Bieber running your small business? Tom Hanks spaying your dog?
In my opinion, picking celebrities as candidates (and this harkens especially with Trump, but also with the left’s selections) reads as dumbing politics down. Most people in the country don’t understand macro economics, foreign policy with China, military preparedness, balancing the deficit, handling immigration policy, the critical importance of appointing Supreme Court judges and administration members who actually know what they are doing. Fuck, I know I don’t. But putting up a candidate who ALSO doesn’t know that, while seemingly making the candidate more relatable, is NOT the answer. Neither the candidate nor the voter knows shit about how a bill is passed, but they both really like reality TV, so that’s enough?
No, it’s not enough. We should not be dumbing down our politics or our candidates in order to attract a greater audience. I don’t WANT my candidate to be on par with Mike Smith from Kentucky, who knows nothing about running a country. I don’t want Kanye, or Oprah, or Jimmy Kimmel, or the fucking runner up from the Bachelor trying to run the country, just like I don’t want any of them being my doctor, or my bartender, or my lawyer. I want someone who actually knows what they’re doing because I don’t, because most of the country doesn’t. And that’s not that I don’t have faith in my fellow citizens, it’s that politics are not an easy subject to master, just like law, just like medicine. And I want someone who HAS mastered it. Who DOES understand it. Who HAS devoted their entire life to becoming successful in this one field, because the country deserves someone who knows what the fuck they are doing. After watching Trump misunderstand the meaning of a clean bill today, I just had to think, all of these men and women across the country who devote their lives to the study of civics, economics, and politics, and we end up with that?
Please don’t turn our country into a reality TV show. Please don’t conflate pop culture with politics. Please don’t assume because someone has a successful TV show or brand empire, it means they have any idea how to run a country for the betterment of its citizens. Please hold citizens to a higher standard, one that forces them to LEARN policy, rather than pick a candidate who speaks their language and encourages complacency when it comes to a lack of understanding how government works.
No, I don’t want Oprah as president. Or Jimmy Kimmel, Or Donald Trump. Or Kid Rock. Or one of the Real Housewives. And you shouldn’t either.