'We are all Americans'

Gray Hughes

There has been, uh, a lot happening in the national news as of late.

There’s an impeachment inquiry that, whether you believe our president should be impeached or not, will have major political ramifications for years to come. Vaping has lead to more deaths. Jennifer Aniston joined Instagram and posted a picture of a reunion of the “Friends” cast. These are all things that seemed to have received equal coverage in our national media, but that’s a different column for a different day.

But what I want to focus on is something that happened a couple of weeks ago that seemed to be quite polarizing.

A couple of weeks ago, the Green Bay Packers visited the Dallas Cowboys. The game was nationally broadcasted on NBC. During the game, camera crews captured comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sitting next to former president George W. Bush. This sparked a national reaction, with some accusing DeGeneres of being too cozy with a person who they viewed as someone DeGeneres should not be around.

Hearing the controversy, DeGeneres took to her talk show and addressed the controversy, defending her friendship with Bush and informing those watching that her to “be kind to everyone.”

During her defense, DeGeneres said she is friends with many people with whom she does not agree on all fronts, including former president Bush.

This, still, was not enough for some people, who, for a lack of a better way to say it, wanted DeGeneres’s head for admitting she was friends with someone who doesn’t hold the same political viewpoint, with many calling her “privileged.”

While I am not here to comment on whether or not DeGeneres is “privileged,” I do want to address those who had concerns with her being friends with someone who does not hold the same political views as her.

Here’s the thing: not everyone has the same political views. Shocking, I know, but it is true.

While we might be pulled towards someone who has the same political views as us, we need to remember there are many, many people out there who hold different political views. If I limited myself to only associating with people who hold similar political views as myself (which I will never expose to anyone), I would be a lonely, lonely person.

We as Americans need to be more accepting of those with different political views. That means people on the left cannot and should not call those on the right “terrible people” just because they support President Trump. Same goes with those on the right. They cannot and should not call those on the left “anti-American” because they do not support President Trump.

Variety is the spice of life. If we only associated with those who agreed with us, we wouldn’t be well-rounded people. We wouldn’t have our beliefs challenged, which, in my opinion, is the best way to determine where you stand on an issue.

Without challenges there would be no progress. We need to have our beliefs challenged in order to learn, grow and progress through life.

I have many friends and family members with whom I do not agree politically, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like them any less. We can have rational, well-meaning political discussions while still acknowledging that our own experiences in life have shaped how we think about something.

There is a lesson that my ninth grade civics teacher said. Everyone in that class seemed to have different political views. After a long, drawn out, knock dead argument, my civics teacher would turn to us and said something that I would never forget: “At the end of the day, we are all Americans.”

That’s something we need to remember. At the end of the day, we are all Americans. We all have a common, unbreakable bond based on our nationality.

And that’s something that those attacking DeGeneres for being friends with President Bush need to remember. At the end of the day, we are all Americans. We are all entitled to our own opinions and to associate with different people.

User login