January 9, 2018

We Can Do Better Than Oprah

Oprah in 2014Since the Golden Globes where she evidently delivered an impressive speech, social media has been buzzing about the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running for president as a Democrat in 2020. On Twitter and Facebook, I have seen countless people arguing about whether she'd be qualified for the job, whether they could vote for her given her abysmal track record of promoting woo and pseudoscience, whether she is bigoted against atheists, and whether those of us who are less than enthusiastic about the possibility of her candidacy are therefore racists and/or misogynists.

I find myself not feeling terribly interested in getting drawn into any of these arguments at this point in time. I'm not even inclined to attempt to follow them. All I'd like to say on the subject for now is that I find it appalling that we're even having a serious conversation about the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running for president. Does the Democratic Party really have nobody else to put forward? Are voters really interested in elevating another politically inexperienced celebrity to the highest office? Or are we, as I fear might well be the case, simply hoping for another political-entertainment shitshow? Is this what we have come to prefer over serious politics?

I think we deserve better, and I sincerely hope we demand better. I'd really like to see us elect a competent president who can work to undo the damage done by the current administration, restore the dignity of the office, and take us in a positive direction moving forward. I may be mistaken, but I do not think Oprah or any of the other celebrities who continue to be mentioned are what we need at this point in time. I understand that Donald Trump's campaign was entertaining and that his presidency remains so. But is this really what we want more of?

Those of you who have been around awhile probably remember how quickly serious television news turned into something that was far more about entertainment than anything to do with news. Most of us can probably agree that things went downhill when this happened. I've always been simultaneousy puzzled and disgusted with our culture's celebrity worship, but when it crosses into the domain of government, I find it utterly toxic. I now fear we are at a turning point where we could see our political system head down the same road our news media traveled. I hope it isn't already too late.