Thinking About Ellen DeGeneres and Her Friendship With George Bush

I recently saw a news item about Ellen DeGeneres’s friendship with George W. Bush and it had to make me smile. I admire Ellen for having a generosity of spirit that I strive for but don’t always have. I posted an article recently about former black congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s friendship with arch-segregationist George Wallace. Wallace eventually turned away from his racist past and tried to make amends. Liberal George McGovern was close friends with conservative Barry Goldwater. Liberal Ted Kennedy was best friends with conservative Orrin Hatch.

I’m a liberal who still has some conservative friends. What kind of conservatives can I have healthy friendships with and what kind of conservatives would make toxic friendships? I would be open to friendships with a George Bush, a John McCain, a George Will (not that I’d ever meet them) because I sense in them a healthy respect for differences of opinion. Bush, after all, is friends with both the Clintons and the Obamas. But I wouldn’t be friends with a Donald Trump or an Alt Right figure like Richard Spencer because of their intolerance of differing opinions and their extreme bigotry. I’ve had to end former friendships with conservative Christians because of their constant attempts to impose their views on me to the point where I felt like I was trapped in a cultish relationship.

My criteria for a friendship doesn’t depend on political affiliation, but on whether it is a healthy friendship or whether it is a toxic relationship. Is there a respect of differences of opinion, trust, honesty, and mutual care in that friendship? Or am I constantly being looked down on and personally attacked for having my own tastes and point of view, do I constantly feel manipulated and harassed, and does that person constantly try to impose their beliefs on me? Do I laugh and have fun and enjoy this person’s company? Or do I constantly feel put down and have to walk on egg shells when I’m around this person?

In my own experience, I’ve learned that some conservatives are really nice people and some conservatives are jerks. Some progressives are nice people and some progressives are jerks. Try to get past stereotypes and just get to know each person on an individual basis and judge them on how they treat me and others around us.

Liberal Democrat George McGovern and conservative Republican Barry Goldwater were close friends in spite of their sharply divergent political views. They formed their friendship when then began working out together in the gym, and they maintained their friendship though they had very different views on the role of the federal government and on social programs to help the poor. The Vietnam War was the defining issue of their generation, and Goldwater was a strong supporter of the war while McGovern was one of the Senate’s fiercest critics of the war.

In this Oct. 13, 1988 video, former Senators George McGovern and Barry Goldwater dropped by the MacNeil/Lehrer Report to discuss the 1988 presidential race, the divisive politics of their parties and the legacy of conservatism and liberalism.

In this video conservative Utah Senator Orrin Hatch speaks at the memorial service for his friend, the liberal Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston. Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy were close friends in spite of their political differences and they collaborated on many bills, including the Ryan White AIDS Act, the American With Disabilities Act, the The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Serve America Act.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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1 Response to Thinking About Ellen DeGeneres and Her Friendship With George Bush

  1. I wonder if those days are past. I too have conservative friends. It’s not a problem. Of course, some of those conservative people in power can do a lot of harm.

    sorry I’ve been out of touch. We had our Kansas Authors Club convention last weekend and that took up every bit of energy I had. It was a good convention, but I’m glad it’s over.

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