Oprah Winfrey delivered a powerful Golden Globes speech to a star-studded crowd after accepting the Cecil B. deMille award for “outstanding contributions for the world of entertainment.” Winfrey’s speech echoed the sentiments behind #MeToo and “Time’s Up” — movements organized around combating sexual harassment and focused on female empowerment and social equality. Winfrey is an influential public figure, and her performance during this awards ceremony has prompted speculation about her political future.
The question we should all be asking is not whether Oprah will run for president in 2020, but should she?
The answer: No, she shouldn’t.
This past Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration. We have three more years left of his term, and the idea of another celebrity campaigning for one of the most influential positions in the U.S. is not something we should encourage.
The presidency is not a job which only requires a certain amount of charisma and the ability to speak in public. The American president is a public figure, but their most important obligations happen in private. They wield vast political power not only within our domestic space, but in the global arena.
The presidency is not a job which can be successfully performed by just anyone — this much we have learned from this past year. The job should be for experts, not amateurs, no matter if they are celebrities.
Winfrey’s speech was moving and demonstrated her ability to tell a personal story that resonated with many audience members. But instead of vying for political power for themselves, celebrities like Winfrey should use their power to support a qualified candidate and to raise awareness for important political and social movements.
This recent influx of celebrity presidential hopefuls — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s rumored 2020 presidential bid and Kid Rock’s ill-fated senatorial ambitions are two examples — may invalidate the legitimacy and efficacy of the presidency.
In a time of tense international politics and an ever-increasing ideological divide within our own political sphere, it is imperative that the individual we elect in 2020 has the skill set required for such a position. Celebrities should not hold the highest political office; politicians should.
This week’s staff editorial was written by two executive editors of the Collegian, editor-in-chief Bailey Blaker ’18 and managing editor Lauren Eller ’18. You can contact them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.