The wizardry of Oz.

THERE is no doubt that the past few years have been the era of the celebrity politician like never before. The breed has always existed, Ronald Reagan after all was a Hollywood star before he became president of the United States as was Arnold Schwarzenegger before he became governor of California. Amitabh Bachchan also served in the Indian parliament capitalising on his fame as a Bollywood star.

The new celebrity politician, however, is markedly different. While the celebrity politicians of yesteryear capitalised on their fame earned in other ways, the celebrity politician of today depends entirely on it. Donald Trump is just one notable example.

One of these celebrity politicians who is trying their luck in the election for the United States Senate is a man named Mehmet Oz or Dr Oz as he is more commonly known. If he wins, Dr Oz would become the first Muslim American ever to be elected to the United States Senate.

While he is not from there, Oz is running for the senate in the battleground state of Pennsylvania where polls have shown him to be neck and neck with the Democratic candidate John Fetterman. If he wins, he will also make history by changing the balance of power in the United States Senate in favour of the Republicans.

A Turkish-American, Oz was born in the US to Turkish immigrant parents who retained strong ties to their homeland. Oz actually completed his mandatory service in the Turkish army which was a requirement for dual Turkish nationals in the 1980s.

The rest of his early life is a typical immigrant story. He excelled in school and went to Harvard and then to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. He trained to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, performing pioneering heart surgery long before he became a celebrity and a public figure.

Oz became a big Trump cheerleader - which would earn him dividends when Trump was elected in a major upset victory in November 2016.

Fame came when talk-show host Oprah Winfrey began to feature Oz on shows as a celebrity doctor who had something special and inventive to say about weight loss. Winfrey and the millions of women who watched her (many identifying with Oprah's struggle with weight gain) were only too eager to listen. Oz himself cut a sharp figure, even appearing on Winfrey's set in surgical scrubs as he peddled a range of new age type fixes for the ever-expanding American waistline.

Eventually, Winfrey offered him a six-part special focusing on his approach to medicine...

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