Was Ellen right or wrong about befriending people who disagree with your politics?

Screen capture from @TheEllenShow on Twitter
Screen capture from @TheEllenShow on Twitter

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres responded to criticism after she shared a Sunday afternoon football game with friends. The problem? Former president George W. Bush was also a guest at the gathering. DeGeneres is defending herself again, having done so publicly on a number of occasions. What’s she defending?

Her Twitter response speaks for itself, but obviously, DeGeneres found herself in a situation guaranteed to draw angry comments from some quarters. It all started innocently enough:

“The 61-year-old talk show host and her wife, Portia de Rossi, went to the Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers game on Sunday as the guest of Charlotte Jones, daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, USA Today reports. The two sat in what DeGeneres called a “fancy” suite at AT&T Stadium, surrounded by other bigwigs—including former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, who sat next to them.”

As soon as news hit the Twitterverse, DeGeneres got a ‘twofer’, but not the kind you want. Judging her Twitter feed, it looked like about half the respondents liked her take on things and the other half didn’t.

DeGeneres spoke about it publicly, placing the video of her remarks on Twitter. You can see the video on her ‘Ellen Show’ Twitter page, but her message boils down to a couple common sense takes. Be kind to others. You don’t have to agree on politics to be friendly with someone. She pointed out the question some would likely ask—“Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?”

I found this so ironic. Ellen and I share something in common—friendships with others who may disagree with our beliefs. So that’s all good.

What did I take issue with?

The labels ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’.

They are not applicable to the politics of our time. Rather than deliver a series of facts asserting few differences in presidents during my lifetime, with one exception, and rather than go on a soapbox to rant about what being a real liberal or conservative means, I’ll just say this. No politico’s bluster, regardless of ideology, is worth a personal relationship.

Ellen’s right about being kind. I don’t watch her show or any talk show for that matter because other than sports or the occasional smashing series (‘Game of Thrones’ quality), TV shows just don’t hold my attention when there are so many great books to read. I do wish more celebrities applied common sense instead of hopping on a political platform based on pop culture memes and half truths.

Be kind to one another. It’s a simple maxim, and it makes the world a better place.

Other than that, go to a library and read some real history in the original messaging containers—newspapers of the day, official congressional records, and first hand accounts in history dating centuries (in some cases more than centuries) in the past. An open mind has no trouble being kind.

Ellen has spoken out about tolerance in the past, and you can read her take on that in an article at USA Today.

(Kay B. Day/Oct. 8, 2019)

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