DeGeneres: Being ‘kind’ to Bush
“Nobody should be friends with George W. Bush,” not even kindness guru Ellen DeGeneres, said Sarah Jones in NYMag.com. The lesbian trailblazer was spotted recently laughing it up with Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game, bringing a storm of criticism from fellow gays and liberals. On her talk show, DeGeneres defended her decision to hang out with Dubya. “Be kind to everyone,” she said. “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them.” Sorry, but that’s what we tell kids who won’t “sit next to the class misfit at lunch,” not how we should regard a president who “twiddled his thumbs” as hundreds drowned in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, fought against “basic human rights” for gay people, invaded Iraq on false pretenses, and authorized torture. Bush should be treated like a “pariah” not because he’s conservative, said Mehdi Hasan in TheIntercept.com, but because he’s a war criminal who caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Sorry, but “sitting next to a person with whom you disagree” doesn’t make you a sellout, said Dava Guerin in The Philadelphia Inquirer. In a deeply polarized country where hatred is rampant, it was heartwarming to see Ellen and her wife Portia Di Rossi “sharing a laugh” with George and Laura Bush. It’s just as touching to witness George’s warm friendship with Michelle Obama. Yet liberals insist Bush is “unfit for human warmth,” said Phil Boas in The Arizona Republic. But if he’s a war criminal, then so is Barack Obama, who authorized more than 500 drone strikes estimated to have killed hundreds of civilians. Ellen and Bush both deserve credit for signaling “an easing of the culture wars.”
It may be easy for Ellen to forgive Bush now that she’s rich, famous, and married, said Laura Bradley in VanityFair.com. But lots of LGBTQ people do not enjoy that level of security and find it hard to forget that Bush fiercely opposed gay rights during the eight years of his presidency. He even supported a constitutional “marriage amendment” that would have forever banned same-sex marriages. That’s no mere difference in “beliefs.” When one person insists that another should not have the same basic rights, and uses the vast powers of the presidency to limit those rights, their differences can’t be laughed away. ■