Ellen and George W. Bush's friendship begs the question: Should we all just get along?
via Paid Man Gets Bored / Twitter

On Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys took on the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. While it wasn't a huge shock that the favored Packers pulled off a 34 - 24 victory, people were bewildered to see Ellen DeGeneres, George W. Bush, and their spouses, sitting next to each other in Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones' suite.

The picture of the lesbian liberal comedian sitting next to a former Republican president who called for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, didn't sit well with a lot of folks on social media.


While in office, Bush was nearly as polarizing as Donald Trump is today, but these days he's seen more as America's goofy old Uncle than a war monger who put our economy into a tailspin. He has actually become more popular with liberals in the Trump-era for being a critic of the current president.

In 2015, he said that he's "mellowed" on the issue of gay marriage. Which is an easy stance to take at a time when there's no benefit for him to discriminate anymore.

RELATED: Ellen DeGeneres just opened up about being sexually abused. It's very powerful.

The next day on her show, Ellen discussed the blow-back she received on social media asking why is it wrong to be friends with people with different political beliefs?

She addressed the criticism she faced for sitting next to Bush saying, "People were upset."

"They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?" DeGeneres asked. " A lot of people were mad. And they did what people do when they're mad... they tweet."

She then shared some of the positive messages she received from people who are tired of the partisan divide in America and saw them sitting together as a sign of unity in a fractured country.

"Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again."

"Exactly. Here's the thing. I'm friends with George Bush," she said. "In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have."

"But just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that I'm not going to be friends with them," she said. "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."

So is Ellen right to buddy up with someone who fanned the flames of anti-gay bigotry in the United States two administrations ago? That answer is up to Ellen. Just as it's up to all of us to draw our own boundaries with whom we choose to associate.

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Political beliefs don't exist in a bubble, they are a reflection of who we are as a people and we rightly tend to choose friends who share their same values.

There have been a lot of relationships that have ended during the Trump years. Trump thinks that it's acceptable to separate children from families, kowtow to vicious autocrats, and openly discriminate against Hispanic people and Muslims.

It's morally upright to find that that appalling and to be critical of those who think Trump is in the right. Why should anyone feel compelled to accept those who support propagators of hate?

Political tribalism and red-state blue state fractures are one of the ugliest parts of American culture. The idea of two people from different sides of the aisle sitting together, chomping on popcorn and watching America's favorite sport together is, no doubt, a heartwarming image.

But it, at best, the image serves to show that choosing who we associate with is a tough decision, as it should be. There are good people in America on both sides of the political spectrum and everyone thinks they support the team that's right.

So the real question becomes: Where is their heart?

It can be hard to see that a conservative can support Trump or can have cheered on George W. Bush while the U.S. murdered a million people unnecessarily during the Iraq War, and think their hearts are in the right place.

However, human beings are fragile, dynamic, hypocritical, emotional, and, for the most part, irrational creatures. It's probably best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt if they're coming from the right place ... but that doesn't mean you have to.
























True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via The Winter Haven Police Department / Facebook

A controversial post by the Winter Haven Police Department in Florida has dredged up a unique debate over whether it's acceptable for a seemingly desperate father to steal from a multi-billion dollar corporation.

On Saturday, the police department posted security camera footage of a man pushing a shopping cart with his two young children at a local Walmart. According to the police, the man attempted to buy diapers and baby wipes but his card was declined at the self-checkout.

The man left the store then returned without the children to buy the products with a different card which was also declined.

The man then left the store with the items without paying.

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