President Obama took the stage in front of the National Archives in Washington, D. C a couple of months ago on December 15, 2015. In front of men and women from 25 different countries that had just become new citizens of America, President Obama deliver a passionate speech on how immigrants and refugees are at the heart of revitalize and renew America. With so much attention on the concept of immigration in this election year, the speech spoke to more than the attenders of this event. It was speaking to the larger issue of immigration that is hotly being debated by Republicans and Democrats.
President Obama lent his oratorical skills and put them to use in portraying that the concept of pro- immigration is as foundational as Americanism. That the founding Fathers of our nations created America to embrace immigration in positive ways and to hold any other view point is to reject our foundation as a nation. President Obama choice as a back drop to his speech about immigration the front of the National Archives building. This of course is called the “rotunda for the charters of freedom murals”. It is in this building that we locate the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence documents.
As President Obama pointed out many times in his speech on immigration, this is where Democracy started and where the subject of immigration should drop its support from. This use of analogy helped to simplify the complex discussion of immigration to a more well know concept of Americanism. Obama speech took on a three point technique to make his speech memorable. He wove these three points into an elegent 20 minute speech that had the listener convinced that it was unthinkable to be anything but open door policy to foreigners to this country. Obama’s points were, how immigration is at our Nation’s origin story.
That we don’t just welcome new immigrants, we don’t simply welcome new arrivals, we are born of immigrants. That is who we are in America, it is at the core of our national character, and it is our oldest tradition. ” Obama used the epistrophe method very effectively in this point. The next point he transition to was the use of how our history has shown how we have abended this primary mission at times of great fear. He spoke about the past mistakes that America had fallen into in denyimg immigration to flow freely when fear got the better of people.
He used the history of what happened in WWII with Americans putting ardships on the people of Japanese descent. America people let fear rule them and denied this group of people basic American rights and Obama parallel that to present day fear and miss treatment of Muslims. Obama called for us to look to our past and not repeat the mistakes we have made. Those dark places in America’s history where we have not lived up to the ideas our country was founded on to have open arms to all immigrants. Obama said, “On days like today, we need to resolve never to repeat mistakes like that again.
We must resolve to always speak out against hatred and bigotry in all of ts form-whether taunts against the child of an immigrant farmworker of threats against a Muslim shopkeeper. ” He uses the historical logic very effectively. The Allusion antanagoge technique down plays any of the negative arguments surrounding the ethnicity of Muslims. The last point in this speech was a call to for us to stand up and build on American values of pro-immigration. President Obama uses some techniques in his speech that make it memorable. He uses concrete and tangible language.
He has this ability to use his words to transport the listener to another place almost like he is ainting a portrait that you can see in your mind. Like when he described the discrimination and serotyping of the past in our handling of immigration is what happened to our family members just a few generation before us. He effectively connects the past to the present for people and calls for us to not making the same mistake. His use of history to set the credibility of the call to not discriminate was a very effect ethics rhetoric technique.
He used this line of argument to refute opposing arguments of why we shouldn’t let more immigrates into America. In the speech Obama takes the faceless word mmigration and paints a face to it by telling the story of one of the people from another country that was in this new group of immigrates that were being sworn in that day. Obama tells the story of one of the women who left her country to come be a part of America. He spoke about what the women left behind and what she hoped to gain her and contributes to our country.
His face his painted on immigration was that of an educated women looking for the freedom to become all God had made her to be and in that America would receive renewal. His appeal to shared values of what our nation stands for, “E luribus unum”, the latin words for “Out of many become one” is the seal on the United States and he relates this concept to immigrates contributing to the revitalization and renew of America helps to build a concrete example of answering the question, “Why should I care? “. This technique in using emotion to draw on strong imagery appeal to emotions of pride to be American.
Obama also uses repetition effectively. For example he used the phrase “like these idea written behind me say… ” He quoted the constitution and the Bill of rights many times to underscore that immigration is the foundation of being American. Obama speech group his ideas in a grouping of threes concepts: how immigration is our Nation’s origin, we have not always lived up to these idea’ and we must as citizens do continual work of living up to the values as Americans and stand up for the rights of others.
This group of three concept were logically woven thought out his speech. Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania has studied President Obama and analysis his use of lyricism in using three simple remember points in his speeches. Liberman says this is part of what makes Obama’s a master at giving peeches. Obama uses his voice effectively. He slows it down, lowers his volume, and pauses for impact.
At other times he speeds up his pace and raises the volume of his voice to underscore a key sentence. His movement is very controlled. He smiles and has small but very controlled movement of his hands and facial jesters. When you are listen to Obama’s speech you get the feeling like you are sharing with an old wise friend. He has a way about him to disarm and relax the listener. He pulls from materials know too many as foundational to humanity, like the Bible or the Constitution.
When all is said and done I find myself wanting to support his ideas on immigration despite the fact that he never gave any concert plans to attend to the problems we are facing in America over the concept of immigration. He only made me feel that if I didn’t support immigration that this was a sign that I was not acting American and that it was wrong. President Obama use of rhetoric techniques could almost convince me to be pro-immigration but the lack of detail and evidence to support a plan to receive people lead me to pull back and say I think there is more then what has just been said on the subject.