March is Women’s History Month. What better way to kick the month off than with news alerts circulating that Oprah Winfrey; one of the most known and celebrated philanthropists in the world, is considering a run for President of the United States in the 2020 election.
To rule out the possibility of reports being “fake news,” verification was necessary. A quick internet search revealed, various articles and links on Bloomberg.com, Huffington Post, CBS and others about Oprah’s recent announcement. According to Cavan Sieczkowski of the Huffington Post, “[Oprah Winfrey], the media queen sat down for an interview on the Season 2 premiere of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations …, and revealed she maybe [would] consider running for president.” Many Oprah enthusiasts are on board and preparing to scream one of Winfrey’s famous catch phrase; “You get a car. You get a car. Everyone gets a car.” To some, the news would make us all winners.
David Rubenstein’s show, Peer to Peer, possess an important question to its interviewees; “What makes a geat leader?” Oprah Winfrey is an accomplished individual who states from an early age she knew she was destined for greatness. It is a greatness that radiates bright enough for others to see; Maya Angelou saw it in her and that she sees in others; Barack Obama.
The interview comes to a close with Rubenstein asking Oprah the question of the hour. He states, “… we have someone elected to president who is a media figure… we’ve never had a woman elected president of the United States, have you ever thought given the popularity you have, we haven’t broken the glass ceiling yet for women that you could actually run for president and actually be elected?” Momentarily speechless, Winfrey finally responds “… I never considered the question even a possibility…” Rubenstein interjects, “It’s clear that you don’t need government experience to be elected president of the United States. Oprah continues, “I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough… But now I’m thinking … Oh!”
Hillary Clinton, another woman to celebrate in honor of Women’s History Month, cracked the glass ceiling in her attempts at becoming the President of the United States. Since then, many have speculated who will be the woman to break through the glass ceiling. In 2016 articles similarly titled; Democratic women who could run for president in 2020, written by reporters Amy Davidson of The New Yorker and Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post, comprise lists of political veterans; Elizabeth Warren, Kristen Gillibrand, and others; all highly qualified candidates. Neither list mentioned Oprah Winfrey as a potential candidate. Why?
Ten years into the taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show began to build comradery with audience members, which altered the outcome of the show. She “used the information that she gathered every day; people who were the greatest resources.” Future shows were mainly based on viewers’ interest, needs and wants. In a perfect world, adults are aware that we cannot get everything that we want. However, having the ability to understand and curtail political agendas to positively suit the masses is a vital gift. Winfrey used her talk show “as a platform to speak to the world,” and in an official capacity, we can expect the same of her.
Oprah’s philanthropic work began in 1998 when she established the Angel Network. “Before the organization stopped accepting donations in 2010, it had raised more than $80 million, all of which was donated to charitable causes.” In 2007, Winfrey extended her philanthropy work beyond the borders of the United States by opening the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls located near Johannesburg, South Africa. Oprah helps “poor girls because [she] was a poor girl and [she] knows what that feels like, it resonates in [her] spirit. [She] knows when you change a girl’s life, you not only change hers but you change her entire community, because girls give back to [their] family; give back to the community. Saving girls around the world are really important to [her], educating … and empowering girls and women … feels like a natural thing.”
Winfrey’s charitable contributions go on and on. What may be most important to many is the need to finally break through the glass ceiling. In doing so, it will positively influence millions of women worldwide and set precedents for equal pay for equal work and bring women’s issues and rights to the forefront for change.
Article II. Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution imposes three requirements to qualify for president of the United States; one must be a natural born U.S. Citizen, 35 years of age and one must have lived in the USA for at least 14 years. Not only does Oprah meet the necessary qualifications, to run for president her accolades add to the idea’s appeal.
Wanting an answer to the question at hand, Rubenstein jokingly asks Winfrey again. To which she responds, “That won’t be happening…” Winfrey’s long-running television program was the highest-rated of its kind and provided leadership, set standards and mentorship towards not only women but all races, nationalities, and sexes. Qualities like these make for a great president and pave the way for a possible win in 2020. Despite Oprah’s denials of a presidential run for office in 2020, her life, legacy, and contributions deserved to be cherished and celebrated during Women’s History Month.