Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is making headlines for hanging out at a Dallas Cowboys game with former President George W. Bush. Because DeGeneres is gay and well-known for her activism in support of many progressive viewpoints, images of her enjoying an afternoon in the company of a conservative politician raised some eyebrows. But Ellen spoke directly to critics on her show, posting the response later to her Twitter account.
In part, DeGeneres said “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 OK that we’re all different….When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”
Many people have commented that the current political and social climate seems to be dividing people more than uniting them, and that it’s hard to know how to have a civil disagreement any longer. We think that makes DeGeneres’s day out at the Cowboys game, and her comments about her friendship with President Bush, worth talking about at the dinner table. Share the video clip from Twitter with your family, and try these conversation starters, recommended for ages 10 and up:
- Are you close to anyone — friends or family members — whose opinions are often different from yours? How do you handle it when you disagree?
- Do you think that sharing the same beliefs about big topics like politics is an important part of choosing friends? Why or why not?
- Why do you think some people are finding it more and more difficult to talk with friends and family about topics on which they disagree?
- Ellen DeGeneres says “be kind to everyone.” Have you done anything lately that was an act of kindness for someone different from you? What was it?
- How can you show someone that you respect them as a person, even if you don’t agree with their point of view?