Bipartisan Friendships

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George W. Bush and Ellen DeGeneres. Image from Outsports

Maya Stevenson, Staff Writer

A few months ago, Ellen DeGeneres came under fire after being pictured sitting beside George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys football game.

The pictures showed them talking together, and at one point, laughing together. DeGeneres is an openly gay woman who has her own television show while former President George W. Bush is known for his opposition to same-sex marriages.  During his 2004 re-election campaign, he wanted to use an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the United States. 

After receiving harsh criticism on Twitter, DeGeneres said in a statement: “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.” 

This was not the first time the two of them were seen together. Ellen had Bush on as a guest in 2017 on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

After reading about this and seeing how it played out in the media, I began to wonder, at what point do we stop talking to people because of their political beliefs? Why is it that whenever you are at a dinner party you hear the phrase “don’t discuss politics at the dinner table?” 

Is it to avoid having a heated discussion over a well-prepared meal that someone put time and effort into? Or is it because that when you find out that your co-worker doesn’t support same-sex marriage, you realize that you can never talk to or associate with them ever again because you don’t feel the same way?

I have plenty of friends whose views are drastically different than mine. Never once have I ever thought to end my friendships with them because their political views were different from my own. We don’t avoid talking about current political issues and expressing our different opinions. We learn from each other. 

Having discussions with people who think differently than you is fine because it gives you the opportunity to see things from another person’s perspective. What’s not okay is you believing what’s right for you is right for someone else.