Let’s talk about Ellen. Let’s talk about respect.
Ellen DeGeneres, a self-described homebody, ventured out to the Cowboys/Packers game in Dallas on Sunday. She and her wife Portia Del Rossi sat next to George and Laura Bush. She is now embroiled in turmoil. Not because she cheered for Green Bay while sitting in Jerry Jones’ luxury box, but because she has the nerve to sit with and admit she is friends with George and Laura Bush.
One angry tweeter stated, “Sitting with George and Laura Bush. What a great way to get cancelled.” Ignoring this remarkably tolerant tweet and others like it, Ellen dug in. She is not to be intimidated or told who she should or shouldn’t be friends with.
Monday night she addressed the faux controversy with her fans. To be clear, she did not defend it but instead took an opportunity to provide the intolerant left a teachable moment with a long overdue message; “I can be friends with people who I don’t necessarily share beliefs with.”
“People were upset,” she said. “Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican President?” With the opportunity to share some of the nasty, negative tweets about the event, she chose instead to share one that went the other way. The one fan that tweeted “Seeing Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in humanity again.”
Boom! There it is! Humanity is about love, acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness but we’ve forgotten that and instead we are swimming in a filthy pool of hate, division, judgment and vitriol. It needs to stop. Now.
I know so many people that regurgitate the tired, and incorrect, mantra “Never discuss politics and religion.” I reject that wholeheartedly. We need to do it more. With open mind and open ears, not the other way around. We were once taught to disagree based on facts and to always tolerate opposing viewpoints. Somehow we have evolved to think with our emotions and listen only while waiting to respond. Then, if faced with a opinion that threatens our paradigm we try to win by volume. We need to learn, or relearn that if we don’t listen, we may never learn anything. Do you want to live in a world in which we only listen to our own voices and refuse to learn anything!
We need to accept each other, embracing the good and the bad alike. We need to learn from each other and appreciate what makes us different while recognizing and celebrating what makes us the same. We are not supposed to be the same, isn’t that an obvious point to make?
Life, unlike the football game Ellen went to, is not all about winning and overpowering your opponent. Life is about the individual functioning and achieving within the parameters of society. In order to do so we need to lift each other up, support each other all the while recognizing that our differences are not meant to be a threat to each other. Life is not a competition and blowing out another’s candle does not make yours shine brighter.
“Be kind to everyone…” was her response. Exactly.
Good for Ellen. Shame on those who chose to attack one of the few celebrities that has a “you be you and I’ll be me” mentality. She never asked for your acceptance and she doesn’t need it. I respect her and anyone with the ability to rise above the toxic identity politics that plague our nation. That’s what it’s about after all…respect.
She provided the teachable moment, let’s see who actually learns something from it…It’s really not that hard to do if you try.