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O’Reilly and Stewart face off

By Cait Flynn

Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly face off during a livestream debate. (AP Photo)

In a world of endless and pointless political discourse, for perhaps the first time in this election, an honest and ideological debate has occurred. This event did not occur in Denver on Oct. 3rd between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, but rather in Washington, D.C. between Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart.

Two brilliant, passionate, and ideological men with a tremendous amount of respect and humor between them talked honestly in a debate live-streamed through about the economy, the deficit, healthcare, Iraq, Iran and every imaginable topic that voters want to hear about. Perhaps most importantly though, the two discussed why no matter what party wins in November, there is a wrench in our political machine, and because of this a fundamental change in the way we approach politics is essential.

The two men each started with an opening statement. O’Reilly focused his allotted time on the genesis of our $16 trillion debt, this being government entitlements that are bankrupting our system and creating an atmosphere of entitlement.

Challenging Sandra Fluke (the now famous Georgetown Law Student who has become a symbol for women’s health rights) to buy your own contraception, saying “we shouldn’t be paying for this! Or a lot of other stuff that’s why we’re in $16 trillion of debt!”

Stewart used his time to paint a picture of an alternate universe that some in this country are living in. He calls this alternate universe “Bullshit Mountain,” a glorious mountain where Obama is a Muslim Kenyan terrorist who has fundamentally changed this country. A place where our “problems are amplified and solutions are simplified.” The way we operate and function has been so simplified and polarized that if these trends continue we may never pull ourselves from these trying times.

This doesn’t mean that they didn’t debate about policies. O’Reilly called for a reduction of government entitlements. On the topic of disability and healthcare, he doesn’t want his hard-earned money going to the support of a culture which, he says, is increasingly accepting of using government money in lieu of working for it on their own.

“You don’t want your taxes to go to something you don’t agree with? Give me back my $800 billion for the Iraq War and children’s TV is on the house,” Stewart said in response.

In the end, this was a discussion between two people of polar opposite political views who came together to attempt to educate the voters on this November’s election. They were spontaneous because what they said wouldn’t be analyzed microscopically. A singular statement or a gaffe wouldn’t define their night. They offered insight and context to everything they said. There were no clear winners because it wasn’t a competition. It was a debate, a juxtaposition of different ideologies. This is the kind of political discussion America needs.

When asked about this upcoming generation Stewart said, “There is no time I would live in than now and no generation I would more entrust.”
“Work hard, be honest, get off the Internet, go outside, and travel as much as you can. Find your passion. Everyone is good at something,” O’Reilly advised.

They were kind to each other and patient. If there is any chance to view this debate, do so. It was enlightening and one of the best events in this entire election.



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