President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Monday in his second Inaugural Speech. Obama built upon his first Inaugural Speech to the nation on Monday and urged that the nation must act together in order to face the problems in the present and the problems that we will face in the future. For it is only as a united nation that we can solve the major issues which we all face in the present.
Obama used several rhetorical devices in his address to the nation in order to emphasize specific points and appeal to our emotions. Specifically Obama used many examples of parallelism and climax in order to emphasize the need for a united nation that must act immediately and face the problems that lie in the present and future. Throughout the middle to the end of his speech he said the words “We, the people, still believe…” several times while addressing the need for America to truly accept the ideals and beliefs upon which the nation was built. The parallelism is effective at connecting America’s ideals to the issues that we face in the present and that even in the 21st century, these beliefs still hold true.
Eventually the parallelism “We, the people, still believe…” led up to the climax, “[w]e, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal –is the star that guides us still.” The climax, which Obama states here calls for the immediate assertion of the beliefs central to America in order to guide us through our differences in the present.
In addition, Obama uses the parallelism “Our journey is not complete…” in order to directly address many of the central issues, which our country faces in the present including equality for women, gay rights, immigration reform, and even gun control. Obama emphasizes the fact that it is our journey in order to call attention to the need to act together to solve these issues. The use of “our journey is not complete…” to allude to several of the major issues we face today appeals to our pathos and emotions because many of the issues which he alluded to in his speech are areas where people today still struggle for equality and freedom. Many of the members of the audiences let out loud cheers when these topics were mentioned by the President, as they are issues which many hope the President will be able to solve in his second term as President
President Obama also used an antanagoge in order to refer to the challenges that we will face in our journey for alternative and clean energy sources that can help slow the impact of climate change. “The pat towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it,” Obama stated. The search for alternative energy sources is full of numerous challenges, but we cannot let those challenges deter us from striving towards a sustainable energy future.
Before the speech was made on Monday, I made a word cloud in order to predict the words which would be the most common spoken words in the speech. I had predicted that the three words that would be used the most would be “middle,” “economy,” and “opportunity.” All three of these words are words that are at the center of any discussion by the President on the country’s economy. In addition the President mentioned these words many times during the elections in November and throughout his first term as President, so I had these words to also appear in his second Inaugural Address.
However, I was mistaken and the three most common words spoken in the speech were “must,” “people,” and “time.” These three words tell a lot about the central focus of the speech because these three words together emphasize that America’s people must act in order to solve the issues of their time and the issues of future generations.
The central focus of the speech appeared to be focused on the need for united country that must act together to solve its present and future problems. This central focus can be clearly seen in the word choice Obama used in his speech such as the more forceful word “must” rather than “should” and the word “time” in order to emphasize that we need to act together to solve this issues that we face in our time.
The official theme of the speech was Faith in America’s Future, which I believe Obama fully addressed in his speech. Obama stated in his speech that the “We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence…” in order to address the fact that our work towards a better future is never complete, and that we must always strive together, especially in the present, towards a better future for ourselves and future generations.
President Obama has served for four very stressful years as President of the United States. In that time President Obama has grown and learned from many of his experiences as President. Specifically President Obama addressed the need for more engagement in the Middle East and other parts of the world in order to forge “strong alliances in every corner of the globe.” President Obama recognizes that we live in a multicultural world, in which boundaries and borders no longer separate distinct ethnic groups, but rather countries are a hodgepodge of cultures and ethnicities. Therefore a greater understanding of different cultures and peoples will help America build new friendships and create lasting peace between nations.