I’ve watched some of the interviews Omarosa has conducted to promote her book – Unhinged. I don’t know the lady. I only know the “role” she has played in various “reality” shows. I am not a fan of reality TV, have never once watched Big Brother or Keep up with the Kardashians.
I did, however, once meet Hillary Clinton at an event in DC and was struck by how she looks so different in person than on TV. Hillary is much more petite in person than I’d imagined. She’s actually smaller than you’d think, a lot softer and prettier. I mentioned this to friends this weekend and they told me that actor Kurt Russell is a lot smaller than he appears on TV. They’ve run into him several times over the years. Russell, they said, has a very small body, but a big head and it’s his head that makes him look bigger than he is. So I’ve learned that what you see on TV isn’t necessarily a reflection of what is real – even when it is billed as “reality”. On TV, Omarosa has been portrayed as a “villain.” Or in more common vernacular, “a bitch”.
I’ve learned not to trust in those portrayals in media. Partly, because as someone who has been in the public eye myself from time to time, I know that who others think I am and who I really am don’t always add up – both in good ways and bad ways. I also have encountered enough high-profile people over the years to know that they often aren’t who you’d think they are, either. Some of the people who are portrayed as being real dookey-heads have turned out to be some of the best people I’ve ever met. While others, who are highly regarded or have cultivated large followings, are some of the most insecure and downright mean-spirited people you’d ever want to encounter.
As I’ve watched my own girls grow and enter the workforce, I have become very aware of the power-play behind labeling women in demeaning ways. The things I tolerated in my youth, I will not tolerate on behalf of my daughters. I understand now how men & media use labels to keep “women in their place.”
I ain’t having it.
I am not vouching for Omarosa, or her integrity, or her character. But as I watched her interviews, I found it curious that there was an almost visceral loathing on behalf of the interviewer towards Omarosa. Not unlike, I noticed, the sort of visceral loathing that many displayed toward HRC during the early Clinton era. And that many still do today.
I found myself thinking that the folks interviewing Omarosa needed to check themselves. They sought to condemn her for taping Trump – a breach of integrity the White House insists, and a position the hosts of these news shows seem to widely embrace.
I consider myself to be a person of fairly high integrity. Or at least I strive to be. But I have gone into more than one meeting over the years with a recording device in my pocket. I did not tell the other person they were being recorded because I wasn’t required by law to, and because I simply didn’t trust what the other person was saying and I wanted a verifiable record of it.
I had my reasons for wanting a verifiable record of our conversation. Legal reasons. And in no way do I feel like recording those conversations make me less of a person of integrity. In fact, I’d say recording those conversations underscored my integrity and my intellect. I knew that the people I was dealing with couldn’t be trusted. When you are dealing with people you cannot trust, you are foolish to not take actions to protect yourself from a legal standpoint.
Omarosa said it best herself when she said she was complicit in promoting Trump and in deceiving the nation. But I have several friends I love dearly, people I know to be very good people, who are every bit as complicit in their loyalty to Trump, a man they don’t know at all, other than who Mark Burnett and Rona Downey and a host of other Evangelicals have portrayed him to be, despite a butt load of evidence to the contrary.
It is true of each one of us that you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.
Omarosa isn’t any different than any of us in that regard.
We can condemn her all we want for her lack of action, her unwillingness to confront the truth until it served her purposes, but that doesn’t make her a villian.
It simply makes her human.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Where’s Your Jesus Now? (Zondervan).