Impeachment -- Sample One-on-One Dialog

Submitted by Bill Crosier on September 6, 2006 - 3:24pm. :: |

This is a sample dialog, from one person to another, that was presented during the Impeachment Town Hall meeting, Sep. 4, 2006.

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This is an example of how to talk with your friends, co-workers, and neighbors about impeachment.

It uses the principles of reflective listening and framing, as summarized in workshop at that meeting, in the introduction to this dialog.

The dialog below emphasizes Bill's role in how to lead a dialog on impeachment. In a real dialog, you should let the other person talk more (at least 50% of the time) so you don't sound like you are lecturing.

In this dialog, Kris plays the part of the Fox News junkie who only knows the fear and terror frame. Bill keeps bringing the frame back to defending the Constitution, telling the truth, leading the world by example, etc.

Watch for examples of reflective listening -- how you can show the other person you are listening to their concerns, but without getting trapped into responding in the fear and terror frame.

Also watch for how you can respond to what the other person is saying -- how you can repond in the frame of standing up for the Constitution, for truth, for positive values that let you bring the discussion around to the need for throwing Bush & Cheney out.

Sample dialog on impeachment 


Bill: You know, Kris, I'm getting really concerned with what's happening to this country. What do you think about the direction we're headed?

Kris: I think we're doing pretty well. I have a good job and just bought a new TV, although the price of gas is certainly going up. I worry about what the terrorists may do next, though. Every day it seems they've done something terrible.

Bill: It sounds like you're doing OK personally, but aren't sure what our government should be doing to make the US strong.

Kris: Yes, but I don't like the people who keep saying awful things about President Bush. He's just a regular guy like us, but I know he's a man of God and I trust him to do what's right.

Bill: You don't like people who criticize Bush, because you think we should respect the President and trust him to do what is best.

Kris: Yes, that's right.

Bill: I believe in respect for our government, too. I believe what's really made our country strong, and the reason why it has been able to do so much for so many people, is because of its Constitution and Bill of Rights. I have a lot of respect for the way our founding fathers stood up to King George and made sure our Constitution would prevent the problems they fought for in the US revolution.

Kris: Yeah, but they didn't have to worry about terrorists that speak a different language and have a different religion than us. Those are the people we need to watch out for. There are evil-doer's who want to bring the US down, who want to attack our cities, who want to destroy the US way of life.

Bill: But what did our founding fathers do? I think they were right to make our country strong by standing up for the rule of law, and by making sure we wouldn't have a king who could do whatever he wanted.

Kris: But things are different now. They didn't have to worry about nuclear weapons in the 1700's.

Bill: It seems the US is doing all it can now to make the people of the Middle East hate us. I don't see how what we are doing is making us safer.
I believe in a strong democracy based on ethics and the rule of law. I believe in leading the world by example. I believe our leaders should tell us the truth if they want to invade another country, and that they should follow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that our forefathers fought so hard to give to us.

Kris: But we have to protect ourselves. The Constitution won't do that. We have to stand up to the terrorists and get them before they get us. We can't just ignore them and hope they'll go away. Our country is being threatened by them.

Bill: We don't seem to be making friends with what we're doing in Iraq. I want to support the troops and our country. But that's not the same as supporting whatever the President wants to do. We invaded Iraq because of lies about non-existent WMD's, and since then we've been torturing prisoners and making the people of Iraq hate us. Putting our troops in a hazardous situation that seems to be breeding terrorists as long as we're there doesn't seem like a way to protect ourselves. Doesn't the situation in Iraq seem like a mess to you?

Kris: Yes, but we're in there and we have to finish the job. I don't think we should cut and run.

Bill: I believe in standing up for what's right, not for staying and make an awful situation worse. I feel we're falling into a hole and it's going to be very difficult to get out. I believe we should not abandon our principles just because Bush and Cheney find them inconvenient. Don't you think our government should support rather than restrict the protections we have in the Constitution, and not subvert them for political reasons?

Kris: I want to stand up for what's right, too. But I just don't know what to do.

Bill: I believe that our leaders should follow the law, provide an example for others in the Middle East and here, and work to leave this country in better shape for our children and grandchildren. I can't see how Bush and Cheney have been doing any of this. They seem to be more interested in protecting the profits of the oil and health insurance companies and Halliburton, not in protecting us.

Kris: Well, I don't know what direction Bush and Cheney are leading us, but they'll be gone in another two years anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Bill: Cheney wants to nuke Iran. Bush wants to pick and choose what laws he follows. They both say torture is OK. Bush even put in writing a statement that he doesn't have to follow the law that Congress passed about this. When they can thumb their noses at Congress and basic values we all share, something is terribly wrong.

Kris: Well, they'll be gone in 2008.

Bill: Nixon kept up the pretense that all was right up until the very end, when the Republicans in Congress convinced him to resign because they knew he'd be impeached. After he resigned and Ford took office, the country breathed a sigh of relief. Bush and Cheney have done much more than Nixon ever in trampling on the Constitution and our laws, and making the US weaker.

Kris: Well, I don't know much about that. But I know Bush is a man of God. I trust him.

Bill: I don't trust someone who lied to us about WMD's and false connections between Iraq and Al-Queda, about what he was doing for Katrina, about why he can ignore the Constitution and laws passed by Congress, and who feels it's OK to spy on anyone regardless of whether there's any evidence they are doing anything wrong at all. It feels like the US is falling into a hole, and becoming a monarchy where the king can do anything he wants. This isn't the country I know and love.

Kris: What do you think we should do?

Bill: Protect the Constitution. Restore US values. Throw the crooks out. Have Congress investigate the lies and violations of law by Bush and Cheney. Impeach them and throw them out. Throw them out.