An Open Letter to Ellen

What you did was morally wrong. Here’s why.

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A still image from a remixed video Ellen DeGeneres tried to ban from the internet

By now, millions of Americans are aware of your affable little interaction with former president George W. Bush at a recent Dallas Cowboys football game. Your subsequent joke-laden justification revolved around civility - the notion that people with incompatible beliefs should set aside their differences and just get along.

But this really has nothing to do with "beliefs." This is about actions. If there’s one thing you should know about Bush, it’s that he and his administration used fabricated "intelligence" to invade Iraq, slaughter a million people, and destabilize the entire region, leading to incalculable suffering, destruction, misery, and to the formation of ISIS. Haven’t you seen that movie Vice?

(An estimated death toll for the so-called "War on Terror" is 1.3 million, all of which could be reasonably attributed to the Bush administration. But let’s be generous and go with an even one million. That’s roughly 330 9/11s.)

The Bush administration also implemented global rendition and torture programs, which were later presented to the public through visceral and haunting photographs taken at Abu Ghraib prison. But the horrors of American military aggression in the Middle East cannot be encapsulated in this short missive. You’ll have to research it for yourself.

It’s bad enough that the whole criminal Bush gang wasn’t sent to The Hague, but now wealthy, white liberals like you are trying to rehabilitate these thugs? This normalization of violent sadists is only going to pave the way for more human rights abuses in the future.

Presidential candidate and congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been endlessly demonized in the press for meeting with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in a diplomatic capacity. But Bush killed far more innocent people than Assad could ever hope to, and here you are sitting next to him, laughing it up and having a jolly old time. Seems like a double standard.

I know you’re extremely wealthy and privileged and probably trapped in a liberal Hollywood echo chamber, but affluenza is no excuse for this behavior. George W. Bush is a war criminal, and you should know it. You have been afforded an influential position in our society and you should use it to be a decent role model.

That means not whitewashing history to preserve the status quo and maintain your own comfort and privilege. It means occasionally confronting your friends, family members, and fellow celebrities. And it means standing and announcing — on principle — that torture and mass murder are categorically wrong, regardless of how "nice" the perpetrators may seem.

Written by

Socialist. Herbivore. Husband. I usually write about politics, current events, and history. My work has also been published by The Hampton Institute.

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