Letter: Rhetorical ambiguity
I read once again the president’s second inaugural speech after having first dismissed it as pure blather. A few moments’ reflection on the president’s words prompts a bit more of my critical analysis. Please permit me to be a bit more specific in my reference to blather.
Perhaps the use of rhetorical ambiguity would be a bit more specific in describing the president’s words. He appears to believe that he is talking to children or, at the very least, those whom he perceives as ignorant of the founding history of America, as well as the founding documents.
The president’s reference to equality in "Our union was founded on liberty and equality." Here the president can only be referring to the equality of outcomes, an idea that came about during the mindless absurdities of the 1960s. Unfortunately, this equality that the president references can only be achieved with freedom and liberty if such equality is pursued.
The president’s words, "All of us are created equal in the star that guides us all, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall." This is but another startling example of the president’s rhetorical ambiguity. In this statement, he presumes to couple the struggle of the civil rights era to feminism and gay rights.
I am curious as to just how Dr. King would view this reference to a cause that he gave his life for. Further, the president appears to be making a sweeping assumption that somehow feminism and gay rights can be traced back to the origins of the founding of this nation. In this, the president is alluding to not only the inclusion of equality within the founding documents, but specifically alludes to the establishment of group rights within those founding documents.
Unfortunately, the president appears to be adrift with his games and revisionist history, and in doing so, misses entirely the central crisis affecting America at the beginning of his second term.
The president would do well to exercise clarity and review the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. His rhetorical ambiguity reflects poorly on his leadership and intellectual qualities.
Port Haywood, Va.