On October 16th, former President Obama extended his public support to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the upcoming election. This came as a surprise to many considering that just last month in early September pictures of Trudeau surfaced with him sporting black/brown face. Trudeau has since apologized and certainly felt the need to do so, both politically and morally. However, Obama’s endorsement of his longtime friend who some have deemed have quite the bromance going, was nonetheless surprising in light of these latterly mentioned photos.
Trudeau, a liberal politician more so aligned with Obama’s democratic and liberal beliefs, has been under fire in the past year due to the nature of the photos’ as well as a criminal case. Obama’s endorsement should be seen as a possible example for us all. That example being that as human beings can make mistakes, especially in our youth, and regret those mistakes later.
Most of us are not politicians or public figures but the ability for Obama to perhaps acknowledge and look past the misguided actions of Trudeau in his younger days shows us that we can move on from words, offensive actions and mistakes that we’ve all made. The idea being to forgive and seek a place of understanding in every corner of our lives, especially regarding others. Whatever the case may have been for Obama’s endorsement, it looks great in the news, considering the endless amount of negativity floating around. And while there’s no doubt of the positive aspect of this small tidbit of political news, it teaches us to look closer at our ability to tolerate and accept our differences.
In the same vein as Obama and Trudeau, in the past couple weeks, Ellen DeGeneres has come under fire for being seen with and for befriending the former president before Obama, George W. Bush. To some, this support of the former president who no doubt has made mistake both on and off the pollical field, came as yet another massive surprise especially since Ellen always reminds people to be kind to one another at the end of her long-running daytime television show.
Compared to Obama and Trudeau and their seemingly mutual liking of one another, many couldn’t believe that Ellen would be so close to someone who opposed gay marriage and a women’s right to choose. To further anger those who felt perhaps betrayed by her pubic show support of Bush, many reminded us that Bush was quite possibly guilty of torture following the September 11 attacks and the United States invasion of the Middle East. To see someone who is a human beacon of light and hope to many sitting next to a person who some viewed as a criminal and an incredibly dysfunctional former president responsible for many misgivings, these two can teach us an even greater lesson.
These two pairs of people caused quite a stir around the world and the web. Controversial though they may be, with any luck we can hope this is a new trend. If we are to progress and rebuild our assumed way of life before this administration, we have to learn how to tolerate, listen, accept and talk to others who run the gamut on issues close to our hearts. All four of these public figures can teach us all a thing or two about tearing people down, or not; about building friendships with those who may have offended us or been in opposing positions to our views and values, maybe even lifestyle.
These four people are on the world stage and while many will tear them apart for any amount of support shown or given, it should be seen as something positive. With the swirl of negativity in the news, these two stories and the takeaways from both lend us a lesson in compassion and love.