I loved Oprah so much in high school that I had a magnet with her face on it hanging in my locker. SO much that when my Freshman year English teacher assigned us a long-term, in-depth research paper and told us we had to choose one influential woman in American society, I knew who I’d chose. Others went with people like good ol’ Eleanor Roosevelt with her Transatlantic charm and quotable musings. But I went with Oprah. “I feel like she’s been a part of my life!”, I remember excitedly telling my mom after school.
I’m not sure about other cities, but in Chicago, home of Harpo Studios, Oprah aired once at 9am and again at 11pm. When I was little, I’d eat breakfast with Oprah on in the background after my mom and I dropped my sister off at school. Later, in high school, I’d be heading off to bed while my mom caught that morning’s broadcast at night. I’d usually hang around a bit and see if the episode was worth staying up for. Oftentimes it was.
Oprah’s voice was part of the soundtrack of my childhood. Her face was as familiar to me as any aunt or longtime neighbor.
And then, when I was 18 years old, my actual aunt got me tickets to go to an Oprah Show taping (she had a friend that worked at Harpo). I actually got to meet and talk to Oprah. In the middle of the conversation, I thought, “OH MY GAHHD I’M TALKING TO OPRAH!”, but really, it felt just like I was talking to someone I already knew. Someone smart, warm, and engaging. It was very cool.
Yesterday, I shared Andy Richter’s tweet below. I noted that Oprah has a grove of trees on her property and she likes to read under them. There’s 12 of them and she calls them “The 12 Apostles”. Why would anyone want to walk away from that? Also, why do I know that fact? (It is one of many obscure Oprah facts I have retained over the years. Did you know she once dated John Tesh?)
But O’s luxurious life is not what compelled me to post today. Rather, it’s the fact that she’s OPRAH, not a public servant, not even someone who has ever taken the Bar. My friend Dave recently noted that it should be a requirement that each candidate for president pass the Bar in their state so as to have a clear knowledge of the US Constitution. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
But this is what the US has come to- Trump has brought us to a place where the rich asshole bully gets elected president and to unseat him, we call on the beloved editor of the school newspaper to replace him.
One of my favorite quotes about the presidency is from Sarah Vowell:
Despite my admiration for Oprah and despite my fist-pumping and misty eyes whilst listening to her Golden Globes speech on Sunday, I don’t think someone like her should be president. Why? Because someone like her IS president. I know, I know, I know- O is not a raving idiot, she is not a stain on humanity and IF she were the ONLY option, of course I would vote for her. But Oprah is a celebrity, another TV star. And if she runs, where do we go from there? Though I suppose it would be frighteningly appropriate for America’s demise to stem from worshipping celebrities so much that we let them run the country.
For now I’ll stand by my presidential wish:
Give me a big fucking nerd.
Let’s leave Oprah to tend to new Chai tea endeavors and reading sessions under the 12 Apostles, shall we?