Sutton: The Bush, DeGeneres problem is not a problem

William Sutton, Staff Writer

Picture this: a place where people of differing ideas, genders and ethnicities come together to take part in society. You are picturing what is known as the American dream, and it’s what our great nation was built on. The American dream is what we as people strive for together to better us all, and without all of the different perspectives from each person, America would not function how it was meant to. Lately, though, it seems as if our society is pushing to divide us in ways that break apart the unity that we as a people should constantly be seeking. 

No better example of this than the current Ellen Degeneres and George W. Bush debacle. Earlier this month, Degeneres, former President Bush, and his wife Laura Bush were spotted enjoying a Dallas Cowboys game together. Immediately, this instance was photographed and put on Twitter where people proceeded to berate DeGeneres on her friendship with the former President. DeGeneres promptly replied to these naysayers with a statement saying, “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. We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay.” 

Many people replied to this comment approvingly, but others say that it is different in Bush’s case due to the massive mistakes that he made as President. But I submit to you that everyone makes mistakes. Sure, it might seem that the former President’s were bigger than yours or mine, but everyone on the world stage that we call the government will mess up from time to time. The government deals with people’s lives and not everyone is going to be happy with every decision. The true mistake is when we think the mistakes people make define who they are. Former President Bush is a person and deserves all the respect we would give to anyone else. One thing that many people try to forget is that we the people are not enemies to one another. 

Politics, economic practices, riots between Antifa and right-wing groups: all instances that seem to want to put our differences on display and further divide us. Not only do these conflicts within our society seek to divide but they also seek to demoralize those with differing opinions than us, making everyday interactions with other people social warfare with either side attempting to argue and angrily push a party’s agenda. We have been forced into friend groups that contain no diversity out of fear that our differences will cause conflict. But when others attempt to break this divide and bridge the gap between the left and right side of the spectrum, they are instantly shot down as dirty hypocrites. 

We are all working towards the same goal and chasing the same dream. As an MSMS student, I have friends that identify with different genders, races, sexualities and political ideologies. The true meaning of love that I have found while being here is by not focusing on what divides us, but on finding joy in what holds us all together. If all of America would take the step to cross the aisle like Ellen, many shortcomings holding our country back from its true greatness would fade away, leaving in its place a country that would become what it was intended to be.