Oprah’s speech was amazing, but she shouldn’t run for president

Photo courtesy Wikimedia
Oprah Winfrey endorses Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Madeline Miller

After a fantastic acceptance speech at the Emmy Awards show, some people have been calling for Oprah to run for president. That is a bad idea.

The role of the president should not just go to the person who can give the best speech or has the most orange spray tan. No matter how rousing or intelligent the speech was, Oprah is not a politician.

Neither is any other television star, athlete, musician or other celebrity. Just because people agree with the points they make on platforms brought to them by talent, hard work and most importantly privilege, does not mean that they know anything about running a nation. Or making military decisions, or diplomacy or any facet of the president’s job besides public speaking.

Celebrities can and should use their platforms to promote positive social change without running for president. The president of the United States does not have the most followers on Twitter; Katy Perry does. President Donald Trump is not even in the top ten.

Ashton Kutcher, for example, runs an important organization that fights sex trafficking. He and his group do incredible, world-changing work, but that does not mean he should hold a political office.

Celebrities are in unique positions to communicate with and rally the youngest Americans. They should use the tools at their disposal to help create a better world for the next round of young Americans. Inspiring 18-year-old adults to vote is incredibly important, and it is completely within the grasp of almost every celebrity.

More and more Americans are saying they don’t trust politicians, but ideally no one would trust the government with anything. Trust leads to complacency, and complacency leads to letting grave injustices slip past our notice. Anyone in the government needs constant scrutiny to keep in line, some obviously more than others.

Celebrities are also not infallible. They slip up and make mistakes, just like all humans do. The constant attention that a celebrity gets is very different from that of a politician.

It is hard to believe that, with all the problems, anxiety and overly aggressive posturing a celebrity president has already brought the nation, anyone would ever call for another star to become a politician overnight again.

Oprah is a powerful force in the world, mostly for the better. She is a powerful black woman who overcame prejudice and hate to become the most influential celebrity of all time. Just having a product on her show exponentially increases its sales. However, money and influence do not make a politician.

It takes a lot more to keep a nation running than hope and a great speech. It takes experience and knowledge of the job, which is something no mere celebrity has.

Celebrities do have a place in politics. It just happens to be inspiring the masses instead of sitting in the Oval Office.

So, Oprah should keep making powerful, inspirational speeches and accepting lifetime achievement awards for incredible work of her life. She should not run for president.