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Ellen Degeneres and George W. Bush are friends. So what?

This weekend’s reveal that gay liberal comedian Ellen Degeneres and Former U.S. President and vehement republican George W. Bush were friends is good news.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

America is polarized, there is no doubt about that. Divisive rhetoric has had a meaningful impact on how many view one another, and it seems as though not just that no one is listening, but no one even really cares to listen anymore.

This isn’t just a gut feeling, either. A poll by the Pew Research Center recently found that 47 percent of “liberal Democrats” stated in a study that if a friend voted for Trump, it would put a strain on the relationships.

This does go both ways, but based on Pew’s numbers, it tends to be the left that wants less and less conversation with the right. “A large majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents—nearly seven-in-ten (68%)—say they find it to be stressful and frustrating to talk to people with different opinions of Trump,” with white liberal college graduates being the most likely to say that a Trump vote would strain a friendship.

This is apart of a hysteria that illustrates America’s falling sense of community. That your own neighbour could be seen as an “other,” or inherently opposed to you.

Though “sex, religion, and politics” always used to be avoided to remain respectful, these three traits now tend to be cornerstones of one’s individuality, making it difficult to put these things aside, and making it easier to surround yourself with people who you have the most in common with, rather than good chemistry, even.

That’s why this weekend’s reveal that gay liberal comedian Ellen Degeneres and Former U.S. President and vehement republican George W. Bush were friends, many forgot how to react.

The two appeared on the Jumbotron at the Dallas Cowboys game this Sunday, and Twitter, as expected, erupted with both positive and negative comments.

Ellen took to her show Tuesday to address the “controversy.”

During the opening monologue, she said the following: “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 republic president? … A lot of people were mad and they do what a lot of people do when they’re mad; they tweet. But here’s one tweet that I love,” said Ellen before displaying a tweet reading “Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.”

So what does this say about where we stand as a society? Well, Ellen put it best. “Here’s the thing, I’m friends with George Bush, in fact with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I’ve think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.”

Relationships are meant to build us as people. We can’t sit around with people who agree with us on everything. That’s not engaging for us, nor for them.

Also, as people, we cannot make the mistake of thinking that we are correct about everything. People should assume that others have things to teach each other, and that both can learn from one another.

This Ellen-G. Dub incident was a timely test of the waters. If we can’t even watch a football game with our neighbour anymore, it would be a worrying sign of just how polarized we really are. Fortunately, we aren’t there (yet.)

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