We all feel passionately about our beliefs, but lately it seems that people have no tolerance for opinions that differ from their own.
Amidst highly-divisive political elections and negative news cycles, it’s important to remember that there is no “them” and “us.” We are all citizens of the United States of America, even when we don’t always feel so united. One Sunday in October, Ellen DeGeneres was reminded of this important fact while seated in the owner’s box at a Dallas Cowboys football game.
Ellen explained on her talk show that she and her wife Portia de Rossi had been invited to sit in the coveted owner box alongside many “fancy” people. During the game she took a quick video of the field, scanning past Portia as she chatted with Cowboys’ Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones before turning to her right and exposing some very famous seat-mates: George W. and Laura Bush!
It turns out that George, Laura, and Ellen are friends, a fact that came as a surprise to many of Ellen’s fans. Neither George nor Ellen are shy about their political views, so people were shocked that they can put their differences aside and enjoy one another’s company.
“When we were invited I was aware that I was going to be surrounded with people with very different views and beliefs, and I’m not just talking about politics,” joked Ellen. “I was rooting for the Packers, and get this, everybody in the Cowboys suite was rooting for the Cowboys. So I had to hide my Cheese hat in Portia’s purse.”
Ellen explained that Aaron Rodgers, a player on the opposing team, is one of her good friends. So during the game she found herself quietly cheering for the Packers even while sitting in the luxury Cowboys suite surrounded by their biggest fans. But this wasn’t the controversy that ended up coming about due to Ellen’s presence in the Cowboys box that Sunday. Instead, the hullabaloo erupted after this photo hit the web:
The NFL’s cameras had captured Ellen and George chatting like the good friends they are, and naturally the internet had something to say about that.
“During the game they showed a shot of George and me laughing together, and so, people were upset. They thought ‘why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative American president?’ They didn’t even notice I’m holding the new iPhone 11. But a lot of people were mad and they do what people do when they are mad: they tweet. And, uh, but here’s one tweet that I loved.”
“Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again,” wrote a Twitter user named Matt. Ellen liked the tweet so much that she used it on her show to illustrate her point. “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 I have. We’re all different, and I think that we have forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.”
“Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them. 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.”
We could not agree with this sentiment more, and Ellen said it so beautifully. The world would be such a boring place if we only interacted with people who think exactly like we do. Next time you’re tempted to judge someone because of their beliefs, whether political, religious, or otherwise, remember that we’re all in this world together, doing the best we can. Exploring what unites us is a lot more fun and fulfilling than dwelling on what divides us.
Watch Ellen drive this excellent point home in the video below, and be sure to share.
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