Sunday, December 09, 2007

My Take on Oprah!

Oprah gave her big speech yesterday for Barack Obama. It got me to thinking about my perspective on Oprah. I had forgotten until recently that I actually got to meet her many years ago before she was so popular. I went to school in Chicago in the early 90's and a friend got us tickets to go see her. This was back when she was still doing the show Jerry Springer style instead of the positive show she changed it into not too much later. She took the time to shake everyone's hands after the show.

I am not necessarily a big fan of hers but I do think she's done some good. I don't watch her show but every once in awhile one of my friends will tell me when she's doing a show on a good topic. I was really impressed with her in the late 90's when she made a big deal out of supporting the stay-at-home Mom. I knew she had liberal tendencies and I knew that the feminists couldn't have been too happy with that so it was a risk she took for something she believed in. She also has put her money where her mouth is and has supported a lot of good causes with her own money. The school in South Africa is only one of the many projects she has funded for a good and worthy cause.

One also can't deny that she has broken the barriers for both women and African Americans by being both and rising to be one of the wealthiest and successful women in the U.S. and perhaps the world. Unlike Hillary she did this on her own without riding the coattails of a man.

That said, I do have some issues with her. Her show has become very New Age-ish with a feel good mentality that manipulates people's emotions with things that aren't always true. Even the few shows that I have watched in the past 10 years have nauseated me with how ridiculous some of them are. She had one show with Drew Barrymore and her political odyssey. Barrymore is one of my favorite actresses but she revealed herself to be so air-headed and self-consumed on the show I really regretted that I had watched it. I also happened to see her interview with Madonna and I thought I was going to be ill.

As for her support of Barack Obama I guess I don't blame her. If I was a Democrat and had to pick among the field I guess he would be better than Hillary or Edwards. I personally think Obama will be just as dangerous for our country as Hillary but he isn't as corrupt so I guess that makes him pretty good in Oprah's eyes.

I was trying to think of what impact her endorsement will really have on the race. Few people will vote for him just because Oprah endorsed him but she will be able to draw crowds and money for him that could give him an edge. I noticed that everyone who came to the event yesterday had to promise to help with the campaign. Thats thousands of volunteers they just raked in. Now having worked on a campaign I know not all of them will come through but it will still make a significant difference. It will be interesting to see how much.

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