You say rhetoric like it’s a bad thing.
Rhetoric is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral, visual, or written language.
That definition is from Wikipedia. I have been hearing that phrase phrase over and over in attacks against Senator Obama. I knew what it meant, but I might not be the brightest bead on a pair of moccasins, so I looked up the exact definition. After reading the definition, I got to thinking, "Why does everyone keep saying it like it’s a bad thing?"
Like when they say he is“long on rhetoric and short on specifics.”
I don’t get how the word rhetoric is an attack when so many great leaders were rhetoric. They spoke with conviction that made people, not only want to follow them but take part in changing for the better.
Here are some examples I found:
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Of course, I started with Martin Luther King, Jr. He always spoke with rhetoric and made many, great changes in this country. Now I will show you some rhetoric quotes from others.
“The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it-and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what
Another great rhetorical speaker who in his short time here, made wonderful changes in
“We should, all of us, be filled with gratitude and humility for our present progress and prosperity. We should be filled with awe and joy at what lies over the horizon. And we should be filled with absolute determination to make the most of it.” -William J. Clinton
Obama himself quoted Bill Clinton when he was criticized for lack of experience, just like President Clinton was when he was a candidate.
“The same old experience is not relevant: You can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience.” –Bill Clinton, as quoted by Barack Obama
Here is a rhetoric quote from Chief Sitting Bull, who way back in the day knew what we needed.
“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” –Chief Sitting Bull
So maybe the word rhetoric makes people think that someone can only have great, inspiring speeches and do nothing. But from the list of people I quoted, I think turned out to be great leaders. I think their rhetoric inspired us all to be better people, to want change, and to do it together.
I watch the debates I hear one saying “me, me, me” and the other saying “we, we, we.” I listen to the political analysts on news networks. I will vote again, because I have never missed an election since the age of 18. I hope everyone else plans to vote, because we do need change.
Then again, what do I know? I watch and vote on American Idol, too.
"It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today." -Barack Obama