By Louis Avallone
You heard about that didn’t you? Oprah Winfrey commented last week that the critics of the President should show “a certain level of respect” to him? After all, she said, “…everybody has a learning curve, and I feel that the reason why I was willing to step out for him was because I believed in his integrity and I believed in his heart.”
Really? Well, her “stepping out for him” during the 2008 campaign is an understatement. In fact, The New York Times referred to Oprah’s 2008 campaign rally in Des Moines as “the largest spectacle of the campaign cycle.” In fact, she then believed in Obama’s heart so deeply that she said, “For the very first time in my life, I feel compelled to stand up and to speak out for the man who I believe has a new vision for America.” She even called him, “the one.”
So, what’s really going on here? You see, Oprah sees how Obama’s “heart” has pushed through a $1 billion “stimulus” spending bill and yet the economy has still shed more than two million jobs since doing so. She reads that unemployment has risen to 9.8%, and that it doesn’t even include those discouraged workers who have given up looking entirely, not to mention the 60.8 million Americans still dependent on the government for their daily housing, food, and health care. She hears the reports of one million home foreclosures in just 2010, even as sales of new homes hit a 47-year low.
She sees how Obama’s “heart” proposed a 2012 budget that reduces community development funding and home assistance programs, affecting mostly minorities, who are twice as likely to live in poverty as the rest of the population. She sees how Obama’s “heart” also now proposes almost $1 trillion in new taxes, over the course of the next 10 years, most of which are tax increases on individuals, while still adding over $26 trillion in new debt in the long run.
Oprah watches as Obama’s “heart” bows to President Hu Jintau of China and nearly genuflects at the feet of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. She hears when his “heart” also led him to apologize for our country, to the European countries, by saying that “there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive,” despite the countless American lives sacrificed, so that others might live free, and without persecution.
So when Oprah tells us to essentially give a break to “the one,” she may just be in denial. And she is not alone. You see, denial is a defense mechanism, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, despite the overwhelming evidence.
From her recent comments, she is using many of the mechanisms of denial. Like so many supporters of the President, she minimizes the reality of the facts, but more importantly, she rationalizes it all away by explaining that “…everyone has a learning curve.” And because she may actually be experiencing feelings of embarrassment, remorse, and guilt from her “over-the-top” campaign endorsement, considering the direction of our country, she seems to minimize much of any responsibility simply by explaining she believed in his “heart”; everything else, she seems to say, she never bargained for.
But perhaps more than anyone, Oprah knows that it takes more than “heart” or “wishful thinking” to be successful.
After all, Oprah is the embodiment of the American dream, and her success is the result of hard work, dedication, and an unbridled entrepreneurial spirit to overcome whatever obstacles may lie ahead. Born to a pair of impoverished teenage parents in the South, and later raised in an inner city Milwaukee neighborhood, Oprah landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Later, she would be told by an assistant news director in New York City that her “hair’s too thick, nose is too wide, and chin’s too big.” Still, she went on to syndicate the Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated program of its kind in history, has been ranked as the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and became the richest African American of the 20th century.
Oprah knows that “respect” is earned and that success is more than “wishful thinking” or puling on one’s “heart” strings. She’s just in denial. And in the words of Mark Twain, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”