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As Long as We Remember...

November 2, 2018

The Rhetoric

Ken Kellar

Tone down the rhetoric! There are two problems with that request. People aren’t showing any link between rhetoric and events and most of those asking for it are hypocrites.


Rhetoric definition: language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.


Many condemn President Donald Trump for the consequences of his rhetoric. It is apparently so self-evident that those claiming the president’s “rhetoric” is causing all sorts of troubles don’t even bother to quote the rhetoric, or link his words to others’ actions. That would only detract from the emotional hatred being spewed.


I searched the web for Trump’s rhetoric. Can his speech be logically linked to recent events? I found dozens of articles condemning his rhetoric that shared a common theme, none of them quoted the president.


Seriously. The first article on Trump’s rhetoric from Vox quoted Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of The House of Representatives Paul Ryan and Trump’s crowds, but not Trump. And so it was for all the articles on the subject I read. The most I saw from Trump himself was a word or a phrase. I saw no full sentences.


Apparently, if you hate President Trump, the single word “rhetoric” is all that is needed to condemn him. No analysis of cause and effect is needed.


When researching the impact of Trump’s rhetoric, I failed to find any effort to link speech with criminal actions. I was surprised because it’s easy to show your logic if you have any. It took several minutes to assemble the following argument.


Fact: A politically obsessed person sent bombs (or bomb-like assemblies) to a bunch of prominent Democrats.


Fact: A politically obsessed person of the opposite persuasion of the would-be bomber took a rifle to a Congressional softball practice and attempted to kill “as many Republicans as possible,” shooting Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and a police officer.


Fact: President Barack Obama said the following: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun, because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl.”


My rhetorical analysis:


Former President Obama told his followers to bring a gun to a political debate.


A Democrat brought a gun to a political debate and used it.


A homeless, van-living, apparent-Republican followed Barrack Obama’s advice regarding weapons, escalation and responded to his opponent’s use of a gun by bringing bombs to the fight. “They bring a knife, we bring a gun” lead to “they bring a gun, we bring bombs.”


My claim: Barrack Obama’s reckless rhetoric resulted in bombs being mailed across the country.


You might disagree with my claim/conclusion, but at least I showed the reader respect by attempting to logically make my case. I didn’t assume a Pavlovian response by just saying, “Obama’s rhetoric caused (fill-in-the-blank).


Just as Pavlov conditioned his dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell, the left has conditioned their followers to “trigger” at the sound of certain catch phrases such as “rhetoric.” In defense of Pavlov’s dogs, their salivation was based on factual experience. In their past, food followed bells so salivation logically followed. In contrast, the left respond in Pavlovian-style to myth and innuendo that is not logically linked to reality.


You may charge that the right is just as guilty with their use of catch phrases to garner a Pavlovian response. What about “Lock her up” chants at Trump rallies?


I’ve been to some of those rallies and talked to those people. Ask almost anyone saying “Lock her up” and they will fully explain why they say that. They’d say something like, “As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton broke several laws for which she was not held accountable. She violated the Freedom of Information Act by hiding her official correspondence on a privately owned e-mail server. She violated the Espionage Act as well as other federal laws by knowingly storing and transmitting classified and sensitive information on unsecure systems. She had sensitive documents declassified and placed at risk for her convenience. She lied about all of the above actions. Thus she should be prosecuted for her crimes and imprisoned.”


How does “lock her up” lead to “blow her up?” On the right it does not. I have read many criticisms of Attorney, General Jeff Sessions for not indicting Hillary Clinton for her crimes. I have never read a recommendation of vigilante action against Ms. Clinton. “Lock her up” means exercise the rule of law, treat everyone equally.


The left’s regarding the “lock her up” chants as calls for violence reveal more about their thinking than they might want to openly share. It appears that in their minds, vigilante and mob action are justifiable political actions. The left has believed this for over a century. The Los Angeles Times was bombed in 1910 by a steel union member because the paper was unfriendly to the union cause. Twenty-one people died in the ensuing fire. The perpetrator did some jail time and upon release was awarded with a senior union management position.


The left believes in political violence and assume we do, too. They are wrong. Facts show that. However, violence is endorsed and tolerated at the highest levels of the Democratic Party and that is a clear and present threat to our nation and its people’s freedom.


Rhetoric is how our wonderful nation functions. Our president speaks openly to this country. He explains his positions in common terms. His opponents don’t directly attack his ideas. They build up fanciful straw men and attack them.


Keep an eye or ear out for the next time someone uses logic to link a quote from President Trump to some ugly action. I’m guessing you will have a long wait.


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