On Ellen DeGeneres, George W. Bush, and the Power of Class Solidarity.
How a sporting event and the monologue in the aftermath have reminded us that money trumps all.
Recently, the viral video footage of comedian and famed talk show host Ellen DeGeneres cozying up to former Republican President George W. Bush at a Cowboys vs. Packers game seemed to garner far more national attention than the game itself. Due to the visibly pleasant nature of their interaction, Ellen received widespread criticism on social media from those of us on the left of the political system.
The criticism evidently was so intense and widespread that Ellen decided it was necessary to address it in the monologue during her show. In her remarks, she said:
“A lot of people were mad, and they did what a lot of people do when they’re mad: They tweet. But here’s one tweet that I loved: This person says, ‘Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.’ Exactly! 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 that we’re all different.”
Unsurprisingly, as yet another rich white Hollywood liberal, Ellen missed the entire point of the justifiable and necessary critiques that she received.
Of course, the issue was not about how Ellen happened to have befriended a conservative. The issue was not about the differences of opinion, and being kind to someone no matter what their political beliefs are. While Ellen’s position in her club of privilege might allow her to see George Bush as just another human being with a difference of opinion, the rest of us see a war criminal. A war criminal responsible for lying to the American people in order to start multiple wars that destabilized an entire region. His violence caused the deaths of our teenage sons and daughters who were sent to fight, along with hundreds of thousands if not over a million civilian deaths.
It’s easy to get past that “difference of opinion” when it’s not your kids getting killed, or your home being destroyed all in the name of a nonexistent cause.
For far too long, people like George Bush and the men and women he’s surrounded himself with that took part in those actions have used the rich white Hollywood liberals and the mainstream media in order to rehabilitate their image. By doing so, they’re reintroducing themselves to the world in a way that makes it far too easy for a viewer to forget everything they’ve been responsible for.
There is no denying that the Bush Presidency was responsible for a widespread destruction that he should never, ever be able to get beyond. If we lived in a world that held the elite accountable, he would have been tried and convicted for the crimes against humanity that he willingly committed. And yet, people like Ellen and even Michelle Obama are able to not only overlook it, but have friendships with the man involved. But how is this possible? What causes such a widespread disconnect between the rich, and the rest of us?
It’s quite simple, really.
At the end of the day, George Bush and Ellen DeGeneres are part of the same elite circle. The cocktail circuit of the one percent is a powerful thing, and serves as yet another reminder that at the end of the day, morals and decency just don’t matter when you’re a part of the club that only money and power can grant access to. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to suggest that regardless of everything he’s done, their shared lucrative membership to the elite class is what prompted Ellen to defend their friendship so strongly. What else but money would have brought them close enough to become friends in the first place?
It’s not surprising, but certainly disappointing all the same to see an individual with such a powerful, far-reaching platform using their influence to reduce George Bush and his abhorrent legacy to nothing more than a man with an opinion that happened to be different from her own. Not only that, but she chastised everyone who dared to identify why they had a problem with her actions.
As I said before, morals and decency amount to absolutely nothing when you’re a part of the club.