by Paul Moomjean
In January, my biweekly article turned from a primarily libertarian conservative voice into what is now a “purple” voice, looking at topics from the middle of the political spectrum. One reason was that I felt the idea of letting politics continue to divide us was an undesirable outcome I didn’t want to contribute to. In today’s react before the person can finish their act culture, I didn’t want to continue to simply argue, “I’m right. You’re wrong.” This unhealthy type of response stems from all areas of society. In a world where every opinion is “equal” without proper dissection, many people can barely handle disagreements and rarely see the other side as anything but evil. Right now, beloved comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has been called to the floor for having a public friendship with former U.S. President George W. Bush. In a red state/blue state country, anyone showing shades of purple is being eaten alive.
A few weeks ago, Ellen and Bush were seated together at a football game. They were both invited by a mutual friend, and sat together, even being caught laughing. Twitter went crazy with anti-Ellen tweets and talking heads and columnists blasted her for being kind to “43.” Her response was classy, non-defensive and in the spirit of what America should strive for.
“People were upset,” she said. “They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?” She then jokingly added, “[They] didn’t even notice I’m holding a brand-new iPhone 11.”
DeGeneres wanted to clarify clearly that she’s not ashamed to be sitting with the once-loathed president. “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 we’ve forgotten that that’s OK, that we’re all different.”
Finally, she wraps up her verbal manifesto with the best point yet: “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. 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. Doesn’t matter.”
The backlash from the Left was deafening. Of course it was. There was once a famous man who preached love your neighbor and your enemies, and they put him on a cross.
One such Ellen detractor is writer Mehdi Hasan. In his article for The Intercept, he went on to basically call Bush the worst president of the modern era, not for his beliefs but his war crimes. “Yet Ellen’s specific argument in defense of her friendship with the former president is both nonsensical and offensive. No one is suggesting that she shouldn’t be pals with a conservative or a Republican. Bush’s beliefs are irrelevant here; his actions are what matters.”
Hasan broke it down more specifically. “He was one of the most destructive presidents in modern American history; a man who has never been held to account for a long litany of crimes, misdeeds, and abuses of power committed during his two bloodstained terms in office. The reason ‘43’ should be treated as a pariah is not because he is a Republican or a conservative, but because he caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people and tortured hundreds of others.”
While the wars were misguided and miscalculated, were they any different than John F. Kennedy’s Vietnam War? That war saw three U.S. Presidents, just as Bush’s wars included President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. Would Hasan be upset if Ellen praised JFK? No. It’s because we live in a “present only” world without context or shades of grey.
Ellen was just trying to be a beacon of light, in an otherwise dark world. But today’s mentality doesn’t allow for that. The red hates the blue. The blue hates the red. And the reds and blues within those colors hate those who deviate. Anyone in the purple is being crucified.
Back in the 1970s the Minnesota Vikings linemen were called the Purple People Eaters. You can call the extremes on both sides of the political color scheme the same today.