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TITLE FIGHT: Sean Hannity VS. Rocky Anderson

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Salt Lake City Mayor and political activist Rocky Anderson and conservative

firebrand and Fox News pundit Sean Hannity met on stage in Utah late Friday

night to debate whether or not George Bush should be impeached and about the

merits (or lack thereof) of the Iraq War. The format of the speech offered each man 30 minutes to outline their positions on the issue.

Mayor Anderson was up first and spent 30 minutes outlining the common values

of all Americans and how the Bush Administration has systematically betrayed

each and every one of the ideals all Americans hold dear. In a thoughtful,

respectful and well-researched manner, Rocky offered written evidence, video

proof and historical quotes and context to speak to the fact that Bush lied

to get into the war, has mishandled the war, supports torture, lied about

wire-tapping and has ruined the reputation of America.

In defense of the President, Sean Hannity spent the first few minutes of his

speech making personal attacks against Rocky Anderson. The body of his

speech was spent picking on liberals, showing video of John Kerry, Hillary

Clinton and others "flip-flopping" on the war and he mounted no defense

whatsoever for President Bush. Most of the speech had the same talking

points as the talk he gave to Utah Valley State College (we've posted some

clips of it here on our blog.)

He then closed his speech with video of gassed Iraqi Kurds and calling for

Rocky Anderson's impeachment.

The entire evening was a microcosm for the level of discourse in

America right now.

People from all parties on the left are asking serious questions about why

we went to war, why the Bush administration lied about it, why they insist

on tools against terror that consist of terror and any of the hundreds of

other issues raised by this rogue administration. Instead of rebutting any

of the sound arguments brought forth, the conservatives (in this instance

represented by Sean Hannity) proceed to wrap themselves up in an American

flag, evoking images of 9/11 and widespread terror if we do anything other

than what the president says.

How can we as a people have a competent national discussion about how to

deal with these very serious issues if we can't get the other side to talk

about them in a straightforward and honest manner? What's the use of

raising questions to members of the Bush administration and their supporters

if they're going to ignore them completely?

What can we do to raise the level of discussion in our country?

I don't know the answer. I have a few suggestions, but I don't know the

answer.

1) Hold more public forums such as this. People need to see which

side addresses the issues and which side dances around them. Liberal or

conservative, people should see it.

2) Our congressional leaders need to subpoena officials in

the administration to answer questions. And they need to ask the questions

and dig deeper until they truly find the answers.

3) We need encourage people to start ignoring pundits (like

Sean Hannity) that lower the level of discourse in our great nation. If

they can't raise the bar on discourse in our country, we should cease paying

attention to them and quit putting them on television.

This debate was enlightening to me on a number of levels and made me think

deeply about the state of discourse in our country and forced me to

formulate the above suggestions. But more importantly, what are your

suggestions? I really want to know. Let's have a constructive conversation

about this right here in the comments section.

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