Recognize hypocrisy of Oprah 2020

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist Photo credit: Rewon Shimray

Several hashtags were trending following the Golden Globes on Sunday night, among them #MeToo, #TimesUp and #Oprah2020.

“Oprah 2020” is a phrase that has been floating around social media and news outlets this week; this movement suggests talk show host Oprah Winfrey run for president of the United States in 2020. The suggestion is hypocritical in a sense – many from opposing parties were quick to criticize President Donald Trump for lacking political background and experience when he first began campaigning, but people with similar political leanings are quick to treat Oprah 2020 legitimately.

Winfrey received the Cecil B. deMille Award at the Golden Globes, an award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. Previous winners include Walt Disney, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Meryl Streep.

In light of the recent events in Hollywood surrounding sexual assault, many people expected Winfrey to make a powerful speech when accepting her award. She most certainly delivered, and her speech has been a topic of discussion all over the world.

Winfrey pointed out that she is the first African American woman to win this award and spoke specifically about #MeToo, telling the story of Recy Taylor, a woman gang-raped by a group of white men in Alabama in 1944.

“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have, and I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories,” Winfrey said. “Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know.”

While Winfrey never mentioned Trump or the presidency, her speech sounded strikingly similar to a campaign speech.

In Seth Meyers’ opening “Saturday Night Live” monologue, he made mention of Winfrey being a great presidential candidate, suggesting Tom Hanks as her running mate.

The next day, CNN reported that Winfrey’s two close friends said she is actively thinking about running for president in 2020.

There is no doubt that Winfrey is a gifted public speaker. Given these exceptional communication skills, she may appear more qualified to serve as a public figure for Americans to look up to than Trump, but she is similarly ill-qualified to serve as a political leader.

We should not allow Trump to set the precedent of celebrities with little-to-no political qualifications to run for president. This opens a dangerous door, encourgaing our country’s government and elections to be run by Hollywood.

Some people have commented that while Winfrey may not be particularly qualified, she would still be better than Trump, but this is not a standard we should settle for. We need to hold those running for office to higher standards.

This is not to say that celebrities should not be involved in politics. However, public figures who want to play a role in the government should first build up their political qualifications. They should run for local office and work their way up to running for president. Ronald Reagan was an actor before he was president, but prior to his presidency, he served as governor of California.

The United States presidency is one of the most important positions in the world. We deserve experienced and qualified politicians to run our country, no matter how alluring the idea of Oprah 2020 might be.