January 13, 2018

The Magic of Oprah.

Ah, social media—you are such a cruel mistress.

I am sure at this point, unless you’ve been in a coma for two weeks or vacationing in a cave, you have heard about Oprah’s speech at The Golden Globes.

The theme of the entire awards ceremony was most obviously #MeToo and #TimesUp.  In keeping with this mood, Oprah used her platform as recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award to give an extraordinarily moving speech, which tied together all the moving parts of sexism, racism, and inequality in both Hollywood and in the real world.

More than just exposing these truths, she was able to do what hasn’t been done in this country in too long a time. She gave the type of speech we will always remember—like Obama’s “Victory Speech” he gave in Chicago after winning the election or Martin Luther King Jr’s last speech “I Have Been To The Mountaintop.” She is a first class orator and she unified the audience and most everyone who was watching this on television.

The world seemed so moved, in fact, that Twitter blew up with calls for her to run for our highest office. Sarah Silverman’s brief “Oprah/Michelle 2020” tweet and Leslie Odom Jr’s, “She’s running. A new day is on the way” and NBC’s, since deleted, “OUR new president (complete with gif of Oprah)” typified the mood.


Almost immediately, however, in keeping with the tradition of social media, the detractors began blogging about the idiocy and myopic vision of anyone who happened to feel this way.

Within hours, Paul Waldman of The Washington Post wrote the piece “Get a grip, people. Oprah should not run for president,” and many tag-a-long articles followed suit. Even some of my friends on Facebook couldn’t help writing their own short essays on why this sort of thing is patently ridiculous. I, however, think that a lot of these people are missing the point.

If Oprah’s speech did anything at all, it illustrated how desperate the country is right now for a powerful, unifying voice. It illustrated that we are all pretty tired of what our current administration stands for. It illustrated how beaten down we have all become as we watched America become “Great Again,” to use the secret code for the what essentially amounts to pushing civil rights back 50 years.

It gave voice and vision to every disenfranchised, abused, downtrodden person in this country. What Oprah stands for is a person who came from impossible circumstances and became one of the most powerful voices in pop culture. A person who started in a genre mired in sensationalism and insanity and steered it toward intention and spirituality–and took a lot of flack for it along the way.

So, yes, maybe Oprah is not the right person to be signing executive orders inspired by the contributions of lobbyists and donors and introducing the brand of sneak thief legislation we have presently become accustomed to. She might, however, be suited for a more evolved version of the office if we are ready for that.

Either way, though, she’s got my vote.


Author: Billy Manas
Image: Elephant Journal Instagram
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy editor: Travis May
Social editor: Travis May

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