This awards season, it feels like not a single show has gone by without either a host, presenter, or winner (or, more often than not, all three) bringing politics into the equation. Whether it's Meryl Streep taking down Trump at the Globes or Katy Perry wearing a Hillary Clinton-esque panstuit at the Grammys, this year's shows have contained plenty of politically-themed moments. Sunday night's Oscars was no exception, but with a twist; during his opening monologue, host Jimmy Kimmel said that he was not the person to bring a divided America together — but that the people watching from home were capable of doing just that.
"This broadcast is being watched by millions of Americans and around the world by more than 225 countries that now hate us and I think that is an amazing thing," Kimmel said in his monologue. "As you know, I don't have to tell anybody, the country is divided right now. I’ve been getting a lot of advice, people have been telling me it’s time to bring everyone together, you need to say something to unite us, and, let’s just get something straight off the top, I can't do that."
After making a quick joke at Mel Gibson's expense, Kimmel continued on. "I’m not the person to unite this country, but it can be done. … I don't want to get too serious, but there are millions and millions of people watching right now and if every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with, someone you like, and have one positive, considerate conversation, not as liberals or conservatives, but as Americans, if we could all do that we could make America great again. It starts with us."
It's no surprise that Kimmel would bring up America's current political situation in his politics, even in vague terms, but what is surprising — and very welcome — is to see him make this call to action. He's completely right; we, as American citizens, have the power to heal the divides in our nation and reach out to one another during difficult times. It may not always be easy, and it may not always end in agreement. But, sometimes, having those types of difficult conversations can lead to understanding, and, one interaction at a time, to a greater, less divided country.
So let's heed Kimmel's words and get those conversations going. Talking about politics with those who disagree with your viewpoints is never easy, especially in today's environment, where issues like immigration reform and LGBTQ equality are, sadly, controversial topics. But if we want our nation to be healed from its current divides and truly make America great again, it's important that we actually talk and listen to each other, and take Kimmel's words to heart.