There has been a lot of media attention surrounding the idea an Oprah candidacy in 2020, after her powerful Golden Globes speech in early January. Though Oprah has never confirmed that she’s at all interested in running for president, many people have been calling on her to run.
Winfrey’s speech came after she was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, for her outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. Winfrey opened her speech with a story of her watching the Golden Globes as a little girl, seeing Sidney Poitier, the first black man to be given the award. She reflected on how moved she was in that moment, because she had never seen a black man be celebrated like that before. She ended with her hopes for the future generation of black women, the little girls who were watching her winning the award, wanting them to know that one day this could be them; so may they never give up on their dreams.
She spoke on how women have become the story as of lately; referring to the #MeToo movement and the rise of sexual allegations that have come to light in Hollywood. I think it was important that she pointed out that the stories don’t just affect the entertainment industry, but one that she said transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace.
“We have lived in a culture broken by brutally powerful men and for too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up,” Winfrey said.
She ended her speech saying that a new day is on the horizon. When that new day dawns it will be because of a lot of miraculous women and some phenomenal men.
As soon as the speech was over people went wild with the idea of her becoming our next president. Her speech seemed to resonate with a lot of people and give them a sense of hope in a time that has been so dark in the news.
I, for one, am loving this first campaign speech for Oprah's 2020 run
— Samhita Mukhopadhyay 🧜🏾♀️ (@TheSamhita) January 8, 2018
— Harika Booragadda (@haribooragadda) January 8, 2018
— Lindsay Clifton (@LindsayEClifton) January 8, 2018
There also have been statements from people close to Winfrey that don’t discourage the idea. Stedman Graham, Winfrey’s long-time partner said to The Los Angeles Times, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”
Also, Gayle King, Winfrey’s best friend said on CBS “This Morning” that Winfrey isn’t actively considering the position at this time, but is intrigued by it. It seems their statements have left the door open in the case that Winfrey wanted to run.
President Trump even said that he thought he could beat Winfrey when asked by reporters. “Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well. I like Oprah. I don’t think she’s gonna run,” Trump said.
Winfrey gave an inspirational speech, but are speeches enough to get her into the Oval Office? In the next presidential election, it is important to vote for a candidate because you agree with their policies. We can’t let the idea of someone or their rhetoric be the deciding factor. This important aspect seemed to get lost in the latest presidential election as we were consumed in scandal after scandal.
We can’t let Trump change our perceptions of what is presidential. Maybe now people feel desperate for a glimmer of hope in our society that Winfrey’s speech offered us that beacon of light we’ve been searching for. However, it is important to remember that until Oprah announces she’s running, it is not productive to sit around waiting for her to run. Oprah has motivated women and men for years, because she works hard and calls us to action to keep getting better. So, while the idea of Oprah running for president may not be so crazy after all, we’ve got two+ years to get our shit together and not paying attention to what’s in the present will not bode well for our future. In the meantime, we’ve got to keep our wits about us and stay in the game.