AS Oprah Winfrey left the stage at the Golden Globes on Sunday, she did so to a standing ovation from her peers, and it seems the rapturous applause of the American people.
Her speech while accepting the Cecil B Demille award was heartwarming, powerful, and moving. She spoke on difficult issues and put into words what so many had been thinking but were unable to articulate.
She connected, not only with the audience in the room, but with the nation as a whole, projecting a dignity and grace that many would struggle to conjure when tackling such an uncomfortable topic as the #metoo movement.
Winfrey’s poise and eloquence stood in stark contrast to the current commander in chief.
It wasn’t long before the internet blew up with calls for Oprah 2020.
Oprah knew exactly what she was doing at the Golden Globes: Testing her standing as presidential timber. Clearly she’s got it. And she could end Trump’s, and the GOP’s, misogyny and racism like no one else! Although white nationalists and GOP would go all-ugly tizzy. #Oprah2020 pic.twitter.com/Vx9YAtGc1V
— John Dean (@JohnWDean) January 10, 2018
— Adam (@TheStatCastEra) January 12, 2018
— William Neff (@Thrilliamneff) January 9, 2018
Even leading news network NBC offered their endorsement tweeting: “Nothing but respect for OUR future president” – a tweet which received over 20,000 likes before it was deleted the next day.
In any other year in history, this surge of support would have quickly been dismissed as a joke, as a ridiculous impossibility. But in America’s current political climate, it rings worryingly plausible.
It’s easy to understand America’s longing for the return of a president with dignity and grace, but the idea of a reality TV star battling it out with a talk show host is, to quote Seth MacFarlane, “troublingly dystopian.”
It wasn’t long ago that the opposition were touting the overwhelming experience of Hillary Clinton as the reason Americans should vote Democrat. But in the case for Oprah, familiar messages are starting to surface.
Her self-made fortune and her ability to connect with the people are being touted as a sign of her political prowess. The fact that she’s a familiar face known by every home in America, and that she’s not a career politician are listed as reasons she’s an ideal candidate. All of which are straight out of the Trump handbook.
While likeability is undoubtedly a factor in who people vote into office, it shouldn’t be the only one. America seems to be cultivating a political environment in which celebrity trumps policy. Dedicated public servants are being overlooked in favour of glitz and glamour.
While very few can deny that Oprah is a fantastic talkshow host, a genius business woman, and a dedicated philanthropist; a competent president that does not make. No one knows Oprah’s take on the Syrian conflict, or the Trans Pacific Partnership, or her strategy for North Korea.
There are a number of rising stars in the Democratic party who have dedicated their lives to public service who deserve the kind of support Oprah has received after one stirring speech.
Committed ‘public servant’ shouldn’t be a dirty word in an election, but rather a badge of honour to be worn with pride. Rather than shun those who have put in years of work for the betterment of others as ‘career politicians’, lets give them a chance to implement the policies they have fought so hard for.
After all, there ain’t anyone on the planet who wants Oprah calling in drone strikes.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of Asian Correspondent