By Becca Carlson
*This article originally appeared in print and online in The Corsair in Feb. 2018.
Oprah 2020? Why not? Who doesn’t love Oprah Winfrey?
She’s the beloved daytime television star that almost every woman (and some men) in America watched from 1986 to 2011 on her enormously famous talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show.
I know my mom did.
In fact, I received not one, but two disastrous home haircuts while my mother was distracted by the compelling content provided by Winfrey. Thanks, Mom. And thanks, Oprah.
She taught us how to eat better, feel better, live better and love better.
She spoke to celebrities and noncelebrities alike. She taught us how to see beyond circumstances and really get to know people.
But, I get it. A career in television and numerous awards (including the recent Cecil B. de Mille Award) aren’t normal qualifications for presidency. Or are they?
We know that actors and television personalities can win elections (Ronald Reagan and current President Donald Trump), so why not Winfrey?
Sure, she is a fallible human being like the rest of us, but her credentials might be just what the country needs to close the division.
A true philanthropist, she has donated millions of dollars to charities mainly through the now-dismantled Angel Network or her personal Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation.
The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation almost exclusively supports the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls– a school for disadvantaged girls in South Africa.
Running two multinational companies, Harpo Productions and the Oprah Winfrey Network, also means she’s cut her teeth in business. Running the country is sort of like running a large multinational organization.
Let’s not forget that in 1998 she won a lawsuit against the beef industry which is not an easy task in this burger-loving country. She’s not afraid to back up her statements or fight for what she believes is fair and just.
I know many people, including fellow staff members, are not excited to see another celebrity in office and believe in leaving the politics to politicians. But, is anyone really satisfied with the work politicians have done so far?
I bet you’re wondering, “What about Bernie?” or “What about Michelle Obama?” and I understand why. I can see how Oprah’s campaigning could create further division in the Democratic Party. Nobody needs that. Two healthy political parties are hard enough to deal with let alone a rabid elephant and a lame ass.
A more politically savvy colleague of mine suggests Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, or Tulsi Gabbard are more likely who we’ll see as female Democratic candidates.
We’ve tried politicians, we’ve tried business tycoons, and we’ve tried celebrities. Maybe it’s time to try something different, but who’s left? The Dalai Lama? No, there’d be another birth certificate scandal. A scientist? #NeildeGrasseTyson2020? Probably not.
The fact that a member of media in this age of media distrust is considering nomination for president of the United States of America is almost too good to be true. It fills me to the brim with excitement and hope.
Another question to ask is where does Oprah stand on the political issues?
To name a few, we know that she advocates for social justice including women’s rights. Winfrey has spoken about increased gun control legislation following several high-profile mass shootings. Winfrey supports the LGBT community. She also believes in a clear path to citizenship.
And of course, Oprah has a passion for education which she says is one key to her success.
So, #Oprah2020? #HowSoonCanIVote?