Wednesday, 10 January 2018


Though we are intrigued past the point of relief and hope to joy and exuberance at the prospect of Winfrey running for US high office we’d all do well to remember that enthusiasm ought to be conditional and contingent. As exhausting as last year’s campaigns were—and in the case of the US, delivering an incredulously atrocious outcome—the notion of an extended, three-year ordeal makes one shudder and illustrates how bad the present is to even entertain the idea that voters are possessed of such stamina.
We draw no equivalence, despite the celebrity stature, and are confident that Winfrey would be humble and surround herself with and defer to subject-matter experts and would be a far better representative of the America public to the rest of the world and would be compassionate and inclusive. These are all very fine and agreeable things that Winfrey incorporates into the empire and brand that she has established, but governance by fame and affinity is probably more alike on both ends of the spectrum than we are comfortable with admitting. Having a platform and agenda separates our Oprah from the indifference, laziness and nihilism of the doltish, criminal syndicate of Trump’s camp to be sure, but I have to wonder if lurching (blowback that’s systemic to democracy) to the other extreme isn’t just a continuation of baiting cultural warfare and stark polarisation and raises the question of what the role of politicians and being governed means. Is statecraft without experience (however that is gauged) or as a chosen career-path just brand-loyalty?  Probably both Trump’s and Winfrey’s relation to their fan-base—not constituencies—are similar and while the latter is certainly preferable to the former, neither I’d venture to wager will attain the political and civic maturity needed to work together and affect real and enduring change until the American president acquires the preparation and experience to govern.  Granted, we would be content with an America that exudes just a modicum of confidence that it won’t start World War III or further savage the environment and if they’re electing celebrities, they might as well elect good ones.  Trump has demonstrated that he is unwilling and incapable of rising to the occasion, no matter what his handlers and surrogate try, but Winfrey, like other personalities that have taken up the mantle of public-service, can, if she chooses, fill her quiver with the tools of state.