Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Do you think Oprah should be the Democrats' nominee for president in 2008? Why or why not?

Giuseppe Abote writes:
An episode of Oprah a few years back featured real-life mothers who were coming forward to admit that being parents made them miserable. The bravery of these women impressed me. Do you realize how taboo it is in our society to acknowledge that motherhood is often a source of anguish and misery? You just can't say it, but Oprah let them say it.

The truth is that work and family drive a lot of people nuts. But if you are a D. Brooks-style red-stater, you are supposed to venerate these institutions even as you know they are quietly crushing you. Where's the outlet for your suffering? Well, perhaps after a week of office dread you open your paycheck to discover that a third of your money was lost in taxes. Voila: you're miserable because of taxes. And who do those taxes benefit? A pack of layabouts who don't even *want* to work!

Perhaps after many years of stale marriage you turn on the TV and see jubilant homos in the urban coastal areas forming whatever associations please them, shacking up willy nilly! How is that fair? Why do you have to fuck the same fat woman until you die, but these liberal artistes get to invent some alternative to marriage that gives them access not only to unthinkable sexual gratifications but also to the mantle of righteous victimhood? Presto: you are miserable because of the gays.

Only Oprah has the credibility to go about the country and remind folks that many of us are frequently plauged by feelings of sadness, a lack of fulfillment, even despair. And that is OK. And only Oprah can remind the people that if you are unhappy, it is really not the fault of gays or taxes or abortion. It is because American life is not always exactly what we say it is, that at times the relationships and institutions we value most also make us feel bad.

The country needs to realize that it is sometimes an unhappy country, and that this kind of unhappiness can't really be remedied by policy. Tax cuts are not the appropriate solution to an unfulfilling job. Gay bashing is not the answer to a crap marriage. Overturning Roe v. Wade will not extinguish your secret doubts that motherhood is not very fun. And maybe once we stop trying to treat our government as though it were an oversized antidpressant pill, perhaps we can start thinking about sensible policies that will actually deliver measurable benefits. Thus, Oprah in 2008.


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