Ellen DeGeneres sat in a box watching a Dallas Cowboys football game with former President George W. Bush sitting next to her. The Left and the LGBTQ communities were outraged and lashed out at Ellen for sitting with a conservative Republican because he does not share her political views. Ellen said that she was his friend, and friends don't necessarily have to agree on every topic.
When did Americans become this way? When did people become so narrow minded that they cannot share a friendship with a person whose politics are different from theirs?
This story struck me in the heart this week, because someone whom I believed was a friend has been sending me messages and articles and mean memes regarding my personal choices in politics. I did not initiate any of the one-sided attacks, and I have not responded to them as of now. However, I am sad that someone I thought was a friend for the past 12 years could be so smug and self-righteous, as well as cruel and demeaning to me as a person, simply because we do not see eye to eye on Republicans and Democrats.
I am thinking of the 35 years I taught TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Scout tells the reader that as acrimonious and heated as the prosecution and the defense were in the courtroom, folks were often surprised to see Atticus and his opponent walk out of the courthouse arm in arm. It was all about civility and respect.
I often play golf with former US Congresswoman Melissa A. Hart, and she has regaled me with stories about the way Congress used to be. Melissa said discussions on the floor were heated, but those discussions did not carry over to the end of the day, where the opposing sides enjoyed dinner and drinks together as friends. Once again, they treated each other with civility and respect, even though they did not agree. I feel quite certain that tradition is no longer the norm in our divided Congress, but I am glad that Melissa was a part of Congress when people were civil to each other.
When Ellen DeGeneres was attacked on social media following the release of a picture on Ellen and President Bush, Ellen spoke about her friendship with George Bush. More importantly, she spoke about respect and KINDNESS. Ellen said, "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 you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn't matter."
Who knew that Ellen DeGeneres would become the teacher to our country, presenting kindness, respect, and civility as if they were new concepts. Thank you, Ellen.
So many people have lost or ended friendships because of the political divide in our country. Whole families have been affected, as well. Isn't it time to put political differences aside and treat each other with respect and civility? I think it is. Friends could set up guidelines that include no political discussions. Remember that we live in America, where choice is a freedom, and we do not all have to agree. Also remember that "Civility is not a sign of weakness." John F. Kennedy
Here is the clip of Ellen speaking out about her friendship with Mr. Bush https://www.cbsnews.com/video/ellen-degeneres-defends-friendship-with-george-w-bush/
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Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school. if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com and a company called www.StreamableLearning.com GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.
Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading. Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom. Check them out! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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