The Oprah Effect

Oprah is coming to Iowa on December 8th to campaign for Barrack Obama. Some people, I am sure, will be impressed. I like Oprah as much as the next person, providing that person is a double X genetically or spiritually and is okay with the fact that Oprah long ago ceased to be an Everywoman. Really though, why should anyone care that she supports Obama for president? Celebrity endorsements shouldn’t carry weight in decisions that have such long reaching impact on what will one day be our history and our legacy to our children and theirs.

Living in a foreign country during the lead up to a presidential election is a little like being Oprah. People here in Canada can be very curious about my take on the campaign. I hate to disappoint so I try to offer as much of a synopsis on the whole things as I can, Truthfully, I don’t know much more than what I catch on the Daily Show from John Stewart from time to time and what I read in the Globe and Mail which is definitely not American-minded in its assessment of candidates and who is qualified or not. My hair stylist is particularly interested in what I think about politics, Iraq and the whole dollar thing.

The truth is that I have never cared less about politics, Iraq and the whole dollar thing than I do right now. And, it’s not because I am living out of the country, but because during my late husband’s illness and my unwanted walk among those who must make use of Medicaid and Social Security, I learned a few important things. Chief among those things is that my government really doesn’t care about the people it governs. Sure, there was more than enough evidence to support this finding before my life was turned upside down, but it wasn’t until it was and I needed real help of the kind I could only get by accessing programs my government set up to specifically help people like me and my late husband that I could see what a sham it all is. And there is no easy fix. Electing a new president does nothing to change the infrastructure that now exists. It just gives the monster a new face.

Who do I think will be the next president of the United States? Who cares? Oprah? You? Not me. It doesn’t matter and here’s why, we don’t demand anything from the people we elect. We go crazy with Caucus fever and primary fever and Super Tuesday fever and it’s all a whirlwind of celebrities like Oprah in Des Moines. We elect people based on their personalities or the personalities who support them and at the end of the day he or she moves into the White House and emerges with a Stepford smile, ready to do the bidding of the beast. Nothing changes.

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