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Oprah to run for president?

This week, Oprah Winfrey, perhaps one of the best known women on the planet, made an impassioned speech at the Golden Globe awards in recognition of the #MeToo movement to end sexual harassment in the workplace and in our broader society. As is often the case, Oprah speaks the heart and mind of many when she gives attention to a topic. This speech was no exception.

After the speech, and noting just how uplifting and honest Winfrey’s message was, some in the public spotlight could not help comparing Oprah’s thoughtfully crafted and meaningfully delivered speech with the rants and accusations often reflected in the words of President Donald Trump. Where Trump tends to speak in terms that divide Americans, Winfrey speaks truth to power in ways to unite the good hearts of those among us who seek a better, more civil nation.

Not surprisingly, after the Winfrey speech, there has been some talk of Oprah for President. And why not? If the inexperienced-in-governing Trump can ascend to the White House, then why not the thoughtful and reflective Winfrey?

For one reason, and for just one reason, Oprah Winfrey may not be the best candidate for President. And that reason is Donald Trump.

Trump rising to the presidency did affirm that a non-professional in goverance can win the office of president, but it did so at the price of placing an incompetent in the White House.

Republicans have, since Ronald Reagan, argued that government is the problem for all things American, not the solution. And they have, over the decades, done their very best to prove that maxim by governing poorly when in the majority. Inevitably, Republicans have used their rule to cut taxes on their donors while creating huge debt and deficits.

But Republican Donald Trump has elevated the idea of government as the problem beyond any reasonable measure. Trump appears to have Republican support to generate yet more debt while undermining our courts, attacking the free press, and sabotaging every government function.

And, in addition to the ongoing investigation into collusion of the Trump administration with the Russian government, this week, we discover that Trump personally is financially benefiting from the presidency with condo sales by limited liability companies that make the buyers unidentifiable. USA Today reports that, since Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016, sales of his properties which previously were LLC purchases at a rate of 4 percent are now at about 70 percent, generating some $35 million dollars.

So the lesson we must learn from the Trump presidency is two-fold. First, when a political party tells us governing is bad and then tells us they want to govern, just say “NO.” Second, when that party finds someone wholly unable to govern, they have not discovered a gem, they have uncovered a poison pill.

As it turns out, governing a nation, like so many other fields of expertise, actually requires a skill set that should include honesty, integrity, and experience in governing. Lest you fall to the Republican argument that all who would lead are equally incompetent, know that the nation still has many good people, any number of whom can wipe away the national stain of the Trump presidency.

Oprah Winfrey is among the most gifted of Americans with talent across a broad basis, and if asked to serve, would do so capably and with honor. But leading the nation calls for experience and knowledge of the complexity of representing all of us, all 330 million of us alike.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.