America is speculating what a white house would look like with Oprah in it. Oprah Winfrey’s widely praised speech at the Golden Globe Awards left many wondering if this was unofficially announcement that she’d be running for president. I love Oprah and have always respected her. She has always been a leader and a voice representing African Americans, women, and the United States on a global stage. I hope to meet her someday. If she ran today I would vote for her but I hope I won’t have to. Politics is an ugly monster. As soon as she puts her bid in, the other team will start working to destroy everything she has worked her life to build. Her many contributions won’t matter to the other side. If you’re not on their team, you are their enemy. Both teams are ruthless. They will forget the love they had for her yesterday on the day she announces her candidacy. Running could tarnish her legacy.
I remember when I used to like Trump. Not saying he was perfect. He had his character flaws, but I generally liked him. As a private citizen, representing his own interests he was likable. I liked hearing him say “you’re fired” on celebrity apprentice. I secretly enjoyed watching him debate. He was entertaining. He was a celebrity and we love our celebrities. When he won the nomination, I was horrified because at that point all his dirty laundry began to air, and it stunk badly. Keep in mind he was doing the same things he had always done. I liked to watch him, but I never wanted him to represent me. His candidacy changed how I viewed his behavior. His comments changed how I heard and saw him. How people hear and see Oprah will change as well.
Trump volunteered for that type of scrutiny when he signed up. Oprah would be doing the same thing. At this point, her PR department has done a wonderful job hiding the skeletons in her closet. Heck we don’t even know where the closets are. We don’t know what her skeletons are, but rest assured they do exist. We all have skeletons. They will dig until they find an old classmate, former employee, next door neighbor, disgruntle relative etc. who is willing to disclose dirty secrets. Things that were forgotten will become headlines. Nothing is off limits when you’re trying to become President of the United States.
I love Oprah. I don’t want her flaws made public when they begin to assault her integrity. History reminds us that they will do it- they are good at it. They will say things that make her supporters rethink their feelings toward her. Trump didn’t know the “grab her by the pussy” tape even existed. What is out there that Oprah doesn’t know about- that she doesn’t want us to know about? Are there actions that she regrets? What less than moments have she forgotten? She has spent years in front of the camera. Is there lost footage waiting to be discovered? She is human.
Being a rich popular celebrity doesn’t make you a viable candidate. Well at least it shouldn’t. Oprah is rich, popular, and successful. I feel like I need to say rich again. She could fund her own campaign. No one could own her. On paper, she sounds a lot like Trump. She has never held a public office. She has never governed. She has never got legislation passed. Oprah has not served the people in this capacity. Oprah has never had to go on record about an issue she didn’t want to. She has not had to disclose information about her financial dealings. There are a lot we really don’t know about Oprah. We can make assumptions, but we really don’t know.
She will be asked questions that she doesn’t want to answer. We like her, but we may not like her answers. I don’t want to take that risk. I want to remember her favorably forever. Trump has been criticized for his lack of experience. I guess we can ignore her lack because we like her. It all sounds a little hypocritical. I would still vote for her because we love our celebrities. I fear we are at a point where experience doesn’t matter.
A Caucasian gentleman once asked me if I thought some black people voted for Obama because he was black. The idea bothered him. I responded, “It’s the people that didn’t vote for him because he was black that bother me.” America is not as progressive as we think we are. Many were not ready to see a Black Man as President. Are they ready for a Black Woman? I am not saying Oprah’s actions should be guided by the answers to these questions. I am simply saying she needs to fully consider the cost. There is some real hate in these streets when it comes to politics. Obama was a politician. He was groomed to carry that load because he spent his life conditioning for it. Politicians live a different kind of public life than celebrities. Oprah is not a politician. Is she ready to make that switch? They will love her and hate her with their next breath.
Oprah does not need the office of president to influence a nation. She has already done that. I think she should continue to use her influence on the platforms she has already built. I don’t want to see her audience divided. Democrats, republicans, and independents respect her. They listen when she speaks. That is why her moment at the Golden Globe Awards was so special and so relevant. She has the support from both sides of the aisle. Some will tune her out if she runs. Some of her influence will die in that moment. Her voice won’t be as far reaching.
I believe there is more for Oprah to do but I do not think she needs this office to do it. Winning could come after a real lost. Her brand could suffer because of it. Consumers will use any reason not to support. Remember some buildings removed Trump’s name after he won. Not to mention, Oprah could lose. Remember everybody thought Hilary was a sure in. She will be noted in history books as the one that lost to Trump. I don’t want that to be how Oprah is remembered. She is already legendary.
If Oprah runs I would vote for her, but for all the wrong reasons. I like her as an Celebrity and would support her because it. I think she would be better than Trump but that shouldn’t be enough. We owe it to ourselves to find better reasons.
I’d Vote for Oprah but I hope I won’t have to was originally published in The AAMBC Journal | on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.