It’s often hard to be kind with people who disagree with us. That’s why I am so inspired by comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and her efforts to “be kind.”

Some people were not so kind to Ellen when videos and pictures cropped up on social media that showed her enjoying the Dallas Cowboys/Green Bay Packers football game on Sunday sitting next to former President George W. Bush. Ellen said people were upset to see her laughing with the former president and “they thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?”

After hearing all the negative feedback, Ellen took the time to respond to the incident on her talk show. She explained that was invited by Charlotte Jones, daughter of the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, to enjoy the game in what she dubbed “a fancy suite” with his “fancy friends.” She said she happened to be sitting next Mr. Bush along with many other people who she knew would have differing views than her, including which football team to support. (Ellen is friends with Aaron Rogers, the quarterback of the Packers, and a Packers fan.)  

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Ellen’s answer to the criticism was simple. “When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”

I agree. We should be kind to each other – even when our differences seem to be polarizing. We can be friends with people who do not share the same views. In fact, it is an opportunity for people with differing views to learn and hopefully grow from each other.

I applaud Ellen for the example she sets for herself, her fans, and individuals with opposing opinions. We live in a country that was built on a great diversity of cultures, religions, and politics. We need to seize the opportunity to talk with one another, accept one another, and build a better world together.  We can start by being kind.