Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is drawing applause from both sides of the aisle for a viral monologue in which she urges Americans to be kind to one another, no matter the other person’s beliefs.
DeGeneres, in a clip from her show, explains why she sat next to former President George W. Bush at Sunday’s NFL game in Dallas between the Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers – and why they got along, too. The daytime talk show host posted the clip Monday night on her Twitter feed.
DeGeneres said she and her spouse, Portia, were invited to the game by Charlotte Jones, the executive vice president of the Cowboys and the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. They sat in the owner’s suite.
“When we were invited … I was aware that I was going to be surrounded with people from very different views and beliefs. And I'm not talking about politics. I was rooting for the Packers and – get this – everybody in the Cowboys suite was rooting for the Cowboys. And so I had to hide my cheese hat it Portia's purse,” DeGeneres said, using humor to make her point.
“... But 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 Republican president? [They] didn't even notice I'm holding the brand new iPhone 11,” she said to laughter. “And a lot of people were mad and they did what people do when they're mad. They tweet.”
DeGeneres then displayed a tweet that encouraged her. Someone wrote, “Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.”
“Here's the thing: I'm friends with George Bush,” DeGeneres said. “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 okay that we're all different. For instance, I wish people wouldn't wear fur. I don't like it but I'm friends with people who wear fur.
“And I'm friends with people who [are] furry, as a matter of fact,” she said to laughter. “I have friends who should tweeze more. … But just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that 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.”
Yes, that was me at the Cowboys game with George W. Bush over the weekend. Here’s the whole story. pic.twitter.com/AYiwY5gTIS— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 8, 2019
As of Tuesday morning, the clip had generated 4.5 million views.
Her monologue drew applause and criticism on Twitter.
“We need to be a people that celebrates moments of civility and kindness and I have to say, the @TheEllenShow monologue about her time with President Bush was just about pitch perfect,” tweeted Andrew T. Walker, an assistant professor of Christian ethics and apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “We can be a people of profound disagreement without being a people of contempt.”
We need to be a people that celebrates moments of civility and kindness and I have to say, the @TheEllenShow monologue about her time with President Bush was just about pitch perfect. We can be a people of profound disagreement without being a people of contempt.— Andrew T. Walker (@andrewtwalk) October 8, 2019
MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle tweeted, “THANK YOU ELLEN – peace is not getting two sides to agree. It’s finding a way to co-exist & thrive.”
THANK YOU ELLEN - peace is not getting two sides to agree. It’s finding a way to co-exist & thrive.— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) October 8, 2019
“When I say, ‘be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean ‘only the people who think the same way you do.’ I mean, ‘be kind to everyone.’” @TheEllenShow
Marc Lamont Hill, a media studies professor at Temple University, however, criticized DeGeneres.
“This Ellen/Bush story isn’t about ‘disagreement.’ We all have friends who see the world differently,” Hill tweeted. “George W. Bush fought against marriage equality, put us into unjust wars, and destabilized whole countries. To frame this as a ‘difference of opinion’ is dishonest,” he wrote.
This Ellen/Bush story isn’t about “disagreement.” We all have friends who see the world differently. George W. Bush fought against marriage equality, put us into unjust wars, and destabilized whole countries. To frame this as a “difference of opinion” is dishonest.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) October 8, 2019
Political commentator Dave Rubin said there are people in American society who don’t want to get along.
“Yes, Ellen and GWB can agree to disagree, great,” Rubin tweeted. “The bigger issue is the only people who can’t do that these days are woke progressives. No conservative, libertarian or true liberal was upset by this. It’s not a two way (sic) street.”
Lots sharing this, but missing the broader point. Yes, Ellen and GWB can agree to disagree, great. The bigger issue is the only people who can’t do that these days are woke progressives. No conservative, libertarian or true liberal was upset by this. It’s not a two way street. https://t.co/mPcNuZBAzp— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) October 8, 2019
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photos courtesy: Getty Images/Ronald Martinez/Staff/Richard Rodriguez/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.