Things That Matter

Ellen DeGeneres Defends Her Friendship With George W Bush, Faces Backlash

TV cameras captured a moment at the Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers game, of comedian Ellen DeGeneres sitting next to former President George W. Bush. After footage of the pair exchanging laughs went viral online, users were quick to point out that they didn’t get the joke.

Soon enough, the unlikely pair’s interaction sparked discussion online about tolerance and why DeGeneres no longer seems to be rooting for the home team.

On Sunday, DeGeneres and the former president were seen seated side by side with their wives a private suite and the clip quickly went viral.

At first glance, the interaction might seem… unlikely? After all, DeGeneres is an out and proud married gay liberal who in 2008 married her now-wife Portia de Rossi after the overturn of the same-sex marriage ban in California. Just four years before, during his 2004 reelection campaign, Bush ran on a platform that upheld anti-LGBTQ+ policies and called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage in the United States.

After users on Twitter were quick to lambast her for spending time with Bush, DeGeneres defended herself and Bush with an argument that truly oversimplified the situation.

“Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?” DeGeneres replied during the opening monologue of her CBS’ series “Ellen DeGeneres Show.

She went on to say, “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush… In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK.”

But what DeGeneres forgets is that few people are aware that people of two different mindsets can be friends. We ALL have family members and friends who hold different beliefs. This year, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables across the country will likely, yet again, see more heated debates and arguments about today’s dividing politics with points being made from across both aisles.

Her comments brush over the optics of her interactions. DeGeneres, the most powerful out Lesbian in the country, was seen cozying up to a man who led a staunch effort against gay rights during his time as one of the world’s most powerful leaders and who dragged the U.S. into a war with Iraq and Afghanistan under the belief that they possessed weapons of mass destruction, which was ultimately refuted. The human cost of his “War On Terror” resulted in the deaths of nearly 250,000 citizens in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and his administration approved the torture of hundreds of others. Moreover, he ignored and lacked compassion for the largely Black community of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina when they sorely needed his support. Approved the detainment of over 750 Muslim-Americans after 9/11.

Today, he can be thanked for his contributions to the seating of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during a time in which numerous sexual assault and harassment allegations were brought forward.

DeGeneres’s relationship with Bush might seem generous and tolerant at first glance but dive deeper and you’ll find that it also forgets the various impacts of an extremely powerful person.

Bush’s legacy has been marked by abuse of power and complete incompetence. He was not and is not the uncle at Thanksgiving who spouts off unforgivable racial, anti-LGBT, or misogynist jokes at dinner. He was and is a powerful man who changed the course of our country’s history and those of many others, affected the lives of innocent people, while also simultaneously taking hundreds of those lives away.

DeGeneres is snide and ignorant with her responses to these aspects that not only amount to his character but also our future. After all, as a former president of the United States, Bush remains extremely powerful and further influencing the lives of others as he did recently with his support of Brett Kavanaugh.

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