Another reason is that Oprah is a convenient shorthand for everything that’s under assault with Trumpism. Her skill is as an aspirational leader, someone who inspires people to think positively, and sometimes to change.
Openness, decency, democracy, fairness, all the shining gifts that make peace on Earth, everything the Republican filmmaker Frank Capra preached about in his movies, everything we claimed for generations to believe, all are under unprecedented assault in 2018. They on the line because those who govern us have rejected them. They have even rejected science, so the fate of human life is also in the balance.
In this battle we say we need a hero, or a heroine, someone with Barack Obama’s rhetorical gifts, John F. Kennedy’s courage, Jimmy Carter’s compassion and Franklin Roosevelt’s gift of media manipulation.
Oh, if they came from Illinois, like Abraham Lincoln, that would be nice, too.
Oprah checks all the boxes. A self-made billionaire from the streets, a woman who has kept her own privacy while shattering the emotional walls the rest of us build, a TV star to set against the TV phony in the White House.
It’s an appealing picture. What might she say, and stand for, we ask?
She says nothing.
Instead, she holds a mirror up to our best selves. Her speech at the Golden Globes encouraged us to act as though we were her, and state our own truths.
This is what my best self would say.