Celebrities remain unfit for politics

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At the Golden Globes last month, host Seth Meyers made a joke that set off a frenzy, saying to the crowd and millions at home, “In 2011, I told some jokes about our current president at the White House correspondents’ dinner, jokes about how he was unqualified to be president. And some have said that night convinced him to run. So, if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president!”

This joke unknowingly prophesied a moment later that night, one in which an avalanche of support flooded in after Oprah’s stirring acceptance speech.

In the speech, Oprah accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award and encouraged girls to look toward a future in which sexual assault no longer claimed victims.

Maybe it was the perfect timing of the speech (the women who preceded her at the award ceremony that night had set a bold tone and made the #MeToo Movement the main topic of discussion) or Oprah’s always-perfect oratory. But that speech awoke a realization in many watching. And suddenly it felt as though Oprah could be the next Democratic nominee.

However, Oprah has stated in the past that it’s “pretty definite” that she will never run for public office.  In the March edition of InStyle, she put the rumors to rest.

I’m not here to argue whether Oprah should or should not run, or whether she would have a chance at beating President Trump. The question I want to ask is: Why do we seem to be entering a stage of politics in which celebrity may be the deciding factor? Moreover, what does this new trend say about where we are heading politically as a society?

There was one thing I kept hearing from both sides of the political spectrum when Trump became a legitimate presidential candidate: “It’s about time we had an outsider.”

Well, was it? It didn’t make sense to me then, and it certainly doesn’t make sense to me now. Politicians can be greedy, corrupt and unsympathetic toward the common American; at the same time, celebrities can be inexperienced, impulsive and image-obsessed. Which is worse?

I would rather have a greedy, corrupt politician who understands how politics work than a likable, benevolent celebrity who doesn’t know much about foreign affairs. As much as I love Oprah, I’m just not sure she can cut it in the White House.

Maybe we do need an outsider like everyone was saying last fall. I encourage everyone to support and vote for outsiders. But not the type of outsider that might come to mind.

The type of outsider I hope we can one day see into the presidency is one who stands alone in the way they see the world and its future, one who can find alternative paths to the success we’ve all been striving toward, one who is not afraid to stand for what’s right in face of criticism and political pressure. Not one who stands alone in their celebrity persona.

Oprah, I love you and support you in all that you do. You have been a globally uniting force for years, and have proved you are capable of making an enormous impact in every issue you take on. But please, don’t encourage this new celebrity-politician trend.