President Oprah? Why It's a Really Bad Idea

In the wake of Oprah Winfrey's rousing, passionate speech at the Golden Globe Awards, a slew of other celebrities and former White House operatives are entertaining the idea of a presidential bid in 2020.

Virtually all celebrities, including Oprah, are utterly unqualified for the White House.

Celebrities shouldn't even consider running for office. Heading the federal government is as technical of a job as it is political, and we should want someone with technical experience at the helm. The only people who should serve as elected officials in the federal government are those intimately familiar with how our Republic works and functions.

There are stringent barriers in place for virtually every other profession -- from education to medicine. We want the people teaching our children and prescribing our meds to have a thorough educational background and hands-on experience.

Backstage at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, January 7 2018, in Beverly Hills, California, Oprah Winfrey holds her Cecil B. DeMille Award. Lucy Nicholson/reuters

While prominent figures like Oprah and Mark Zuckerberg have made amazing accomplishments in their respective fields, there's no reason to believe their skills apply, in any way, to the running of a nation-state.

The President's responsibilities are not only vast, but immensely complicated and technical. As head of the Executive Branch, the president is responsible for overseeing 15 executive departments and over 2 million federal employees.

That's on top of implementing their own policy goals, working with Congress to pass laws, serving as Commander-in-Chief, and acting as the head of state.

Electing a celebrity to serve in our nation's highest office is a recipe for disaster, and we've already seen the outcome.

When President-Elect Donald Trump undermined America's One-China Policy barely a month after winning the election, it wasn't a policy decision, but a mistake made by an individual with no expertise, knowledge, or experience related to American government.

The average American was confused as to why it was even news, let alone a scandal, with many googling whether or not Taiwan was its own country. The One-China Policy isn't something the average American, or businessperson, or celebrity would know -- it's a policy that every student of international affairs knows by heart.

While Ms. Winfrey has made numerous contributions to our society, and made a rousing, forward-looking, and passionate speech about American culture, she, like so many other celebrities, isn't qualified to be President.

It's not just celebrities that we should keep out of office—no one without government experience should be running for any federal office. And yet, Americans are clamoring for political outsiders, and often make their disdain for Washington elite well-known. After all, 75 percent of Americans believe there is widespread corruption in government.

But nominating and electing political neophytes to positions of power to eradicate corruption is like declaring mutiny on a ship, and throwing the rudder and wheel overboard with the captain.

No other professionals have the necessary experience and knowledge to effectively run our government.

Often the argument is made that business executives from large companies have transferable skills, but businesses and the government are structured in fundamentally different ways to accomplish essentially dissimilar tasks.

While businesses are concerned with exchanging goods for money, the government is designed to enforce laws, secure private property, protect corporal safety, defend against foreign enemies, and countless other tasks. None of them are concerned with a quid pro quo transaction.

The government, at its most essential level, isn't about generating value for shareholders, it's about enforcing the rules a society agrees to live by. Our republic updates and enforces those rules using systems as complex and nuanced as any other profession that requires highly-trained workers.

Encouraging celebrities, businesspeople, and other prominent figures with zero political experience to run for president isn't just foolish, it's dangerous.

Hayden Frye is a communications specialist in Washington, DC.

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