On Sunday, fans spotted Ellen DeGeneres having a laugh with former President George W. Bush at the Cowboys game in Dallas. As a result, twitter freaked out over the fact that two major personalities on opposite sides of the political spectrum were able to share a conversation. Many on twitter slammed DeGeneres for mingling with the conservative Republican who has pushed anti-LGBTQ legislation his entire career.
In her monologue that aired Tuesday, Ellen emphasized the innocence of the situation. She admitted that she was invited to the game by Charlotte Jones (daughter of Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones) and that she was seated in the luxury box with high-profile names. She went on to say that she was ‘friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs.’ In response to this, Susan Sarandon criticized the openly gay talk show host in a tweet stating that ‘DeGeneres framed the issue as simply a matter of her hanging out with someone with different opinions, not a man repeatedly accused of being a war criminal.’ Many tweets like this one (mainly from liberal elites), followed after Ellen’s monologue on Tuesday, accusing Bush of being more than just a political adversary, instead they saw him as the man who ‘caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people and [who] tortured hundreds of others’ (The Intercept).
Is former President Bush a war criminal? It is certainly arguable. But does that matter in this context? No. They happened to both be at a ball game and that’s it, not a big deal. It is completely fair to criticize the man for his seriously questionable domestic and foreign policies, but to go as far as to deface DeGeneres’s brand in calling her a ‘hypocrite’ and ‘Hollywood sell-out’ is the epitome of cancel culture. This mob-like mentality on social media doesn’t leave room for the conversation to move further, leaving people on both sides to become entrenched in their views.
The point here is that we should all assess ourselves in how open we are to opposing views because in today’s political climate, that is going to get us far. Currently, there are many in the mainstream who dance around the political outskirts but maintaining dialogue between the two extremes is crucial if we ever want to reach a compromise. The moral of the story is also my favorite line from Ellen’s monologue: ‘When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter.’