Good morning, it's Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, the day of the week when I reprise a quotation meant to be inspiring or elucidating. Today's comes from Oprah Winfrey, a woman I have never met, but have long admired from afar. Today is Oprah's 67th birthday.
Oprah Winfrey -- television star, best-selling author, entrepreneur, billionaire, international philanthropist, global brand -- has much to be thankful for in life. But here's the thing: Who should she thank? Yes, she lives in a consistently great country (no matter what Donald Trump or his detractors say), a country of opportunity. And yes, she is a woman who sees the hand of God in human affairs.
Also, she has undeniable natural talents -- and is a born optimist. But she was also born into blinding poverty, abused as a child, and was never gifted with an inheritance or handout. She is a Horatio Alger story come to life. So what made it all possible? What is her greatest gift? My guess is that her frequently professed concern for others is genuine. I think her empathy is palpable and people want to be in its presence.
In 2017, after a madman murdered 60 people and wounded hundreds from a high-rise Las Vegas hotel, Oprah was interviewed on "Entertainment Tonight." Here is part of what she had to say:
"There's not a day that goes by where I'm not putting on my shoes, or brushing my teeth, where I just think about the ordinariness of people who just went to a concert, or the ordinariness of the day from people from 9/11, who were just doing an ordinary thing, and then you never get home. … So, I would say that these days of crisis and tragedy are to remind us all to be present in the ordinariness of our lives, that actually turns out to be extraordinary when the person you love doesn't come home at night.
"This is to make us all more awakened about our own life, and the fact that it shows up this way is a horror. But, as I heard someone say, seeing people coming together, helping each other -- whether it's this crisis we're in or what we saw weeks ago in, in Houston, in Florida, and now in Puerto Rico -- it shows the humanity of us all. So, it's an opportunity to show the best of ourselves, when the worst shows up."
Today, as we confront constant new setbacks in our fight against COVID-19, her wisdom is as fitting now as it was then. And it's our quote of the week.
Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.