How did we get to #Oprah2020? Let’s break down the blame.
Raise your hand if someone in your Facebook or Twitter News Feed posted about Oprah Winfrey being a wise choice to be the next president in the last 24-hours. Sunday night, Ms. Winfrey was the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes and gave a rousing acceptance speech. It was a great speech, for someone winning an award for her contribution to television and cinema.
But “the Feed” collectively lost its mind. #Oprah2020 saw a huge spike on social media at 9pm E.T. The Washington Post’s senior political reporter annotated her speech as if it was a State of the Union address. Not the television critic or the Lifestyle editor. A political reporter.
Now this was with the explicit prodding from host Seth Meyers for her not to considerrunning (wink, wink). Seth Meyers is often facetiously blamed for causing President Trump to run for president by making a joke out of the possibility at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Association dinner and was attempting to make a joke about Oprah. But who cares if something is supposed to be a joke, right? It all sounds very serious and real, according to…well, everyone.
The question at hand is this – who is to blame for this insanity. How did we get to the point where Oprah being president makes sense, not just because she seems like a better choice than our current president, but because she is “presidential?” Let’s break down the blame for how we got to this point as an electorate.
Many navel gazers like to blame social media. It’s the platform where both civilian tweets and tweets from say, NBC, pretty much get the same weight.
Here is one tweet by civilian Kate, a comedian, author, and podcaster according to her bio:
Woah, wait a minute. A national convention speech? According to what scale? Don’t worry, Kate has returned to her normal self today by tweeting about moisturizer, but not before her Oprah tweet was featured by NBCWashington.
Incidentally, @NBC, which is the national Twitter handle for the broadcast network, tweeted: "Nothing but respect for OUR future president. #GoldenGlobes". This tweet has since been deleted and blamed on a third-party agency.
How about CNN pundit April Ryan? She’s at least in the field of politics. Let’s see what she had to say:
At least in this instance, some rightly called her out for, “being smarter than that.”
Perhaps this tweet hints at the real blame – the notion that anyone can be anything they want to be, as long as one puts their mind into it. Because Oprah has worked hard and accomplished a lot, just like Hillary Clinton but in a likable fashion, she therefore deserves to be in charge of our nation’s military. And in fact, her ascension would be inspiring. It’s this concept of leveling the platform that has gotten us to this point. Social media is just an easy way for us to express and condone this viewpoint and feel good about doing it. But it’s this concept that is to blame.
We have come to a point where it’s now controversial to say, “certain people are better for certain jobs than other people.” This is the thesis of Jim Collin’s iconic management book, “Good to Great.” In order for a company to survive, it must not burden great people with good people. Learning to jettison good people for the sake of great people is the key to survival.
We’ve lost our compass for how we choose between good and great. Oprah is great at contributing to television and film and media – hence her getting an award for it. She would not be great at being president. She wouldn’t even be good. It’s time we turn our focus to how we define “great” – and make it acceptable to say to our kids, you cannot be great at just anything and everything. When we can once again tell the difference between good and great and we celebrate those differences, that is how we will become great as a country again.