Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Grace's Post on Obama's Inaugural Address

Obama's second inaugural address was this past Monday. Although I do not involve myself in politics (and to be completely honest, I barely keep up with current news), I feel that his speech was definitely full of hope for the future (or at least it was written that way - I wouldn't know how plausible some of this is).

The first thing I would like to note right off the bat is that he starts off so many sentences with "we." When I read this, I kept hearing in my mind "we.....we....we.....we...." (especially in the middle paragraphs). I think that's great use of parallelism, especially because Obama is emphasizing that we have to work with each other in order for things to work out. Through this he is able to tell the reader that he is willing to be and knows that he has to be a team player for the next four years.

Examples of Obama's repetition
Another parallelism prevalent in the beginning is his use of "together." He starts off each sentence with "together, we ____" to show what we have done over his last four years of presidency. He then talks about what "we have always understood" and what we "still believe." This then builds to a climax where he begins using the "we's" to show what we will do in the future, what we cannot let happen, and what we must do for others. He continues with repetition of "our journey is not complete," again talking about what he wants to do in the future. I think this is a clever way of looking back at the past and connecting it to what he hopes the future will hold. This depicts a path from the past, present, and future. And if you look back at the word cloud, you can see that his most used word is "must" throughout the whole speech. This is a word that calls for action and it tells the reader what Obama hopes and wants to do in the next four years. This actually surprised me, since I thought his most used word would be something along the lines of "together" or "people" (although people is up there on the more used words).

I noticed that he likes putting in the quote from the declaration such as "We hold these truths to be self-evident." The idea he poses next was something that I found interesting - "For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing - that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth." I could not agree more - we must make use of opportunities that are given to us since nothing will happen if we just let them sit at our feet. The way he puts the ideas right next to each other allow us to better contrast them and think about the logic. Later on in the speech, he mentions "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths - that all of us are created equal..." again, with reference to the declaration, but applying the principal to a more modern (and controversial) issue about gay rights.

I feel that Obama definitely has grown over the past four years (even in his appearance/hair). Over the last four years, he has experienced many difficulties and learned how to deal with them such as the gun shootings, etc. And like Jamie said in his post, I feel that Obama can now fully focus on his presidency this year instead of trying to be re-elected for his next term. He has started talking about the controversial issues (such as talking about Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall) and this implies that he can now act on these issues without fear about not being elected again in the next upcoming years.

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