Saturday, June 18, 2016

Orlando: More Rhetorical Tricks From The President

President Obama has chosen to characterize the terrible murders in Orlando primarily as an attack on the LGBT community and avoided attributing sole responsibility to the ideology of Islamic terrorists. With the help of his echo chamber, this allows him to make the event about America and chastise us for our supposed lack of tolerance and of the necessity of gun control – in other words, to convert this massacre inspired by a foreign ideology into an assault on his domestic political opponents who are bitterly clinging to guns or religion (the phrase he used to describe voters hostile to him in 2008), despite the fact that Omar Mateen was a registered Democrat, and a Hillary Clinton supporter!

If, instead, he chose to characterize the murders more truthfully as an attack on America we would be having a discussion about the Islamic terrorists responsible. Was the specific attack in Orlando motivated by hatred of gays? Yes, it certainly looks like that, but the Islamists have made it clear that in addition to gays, they also hate, and have killed, Jews, Christians, atheists, Hindus, Moslems who don't agree with them and Americans in general  – we are all in this together.  Looking on the bright side, we can be thankful Obama didn’t characterize the San Bernadino massacre as an assault on government employees and use it to denounce those who want less government and regulation!

By making the choice he did, Obama chose to focus on dividing Americans when he could have easily chosen to unite us. Why are we not surprised?

If you are interested in reading more about Obama’s rhetorical tricks here is a post from last year: Rhetorical Tricks & Tics: It's Always About America. To summarize:
When speaking of America’s ills, ignore the broader global context, so the audience remains focused on America’s sins but when confronted with the ills of another country, always be sure to refer to what you characterize as similar ills in America. That way, no matter what, the focus remains America’s ills.
Although Obama is the first American President to employ the rhetorical trick of always making it about America’s supposedly unique ills, his way was paved for decades by an educational system which has marinated children and young adults in this way of thinking. They are powerless against this reasoning because it is what they know, are made to feel guilty if they don’t accept it, and can signal their virtue if they do.

As Jonah Goldberg recently noted "the essence of serious thinking is the capacity . . . to make meaningful distinctions", or as he also put it more bluntly "to distinguish s*** from shinola".  The essence of Barack Obama's academically derived rhetorical trick is to disable the ability to make meaningful distinctions.  And what President Obama is selling is definitely not shinola.

It is as if Barack Obama was designed by the tenured faculty of a liberal arts college, who are free to "teach the children well" and when the money runs low can always send another tuition bill to the parents.

No comments:

Post a Comment