Rhetoric

This is a response to Surreal’s comments on the “A Dream” and the “Powerful Words” posts.

There are many things that I disagree with Obama about. I really think I am a Libertarian on economic issues so just about everything that has happened in government for the past several months has been against what I believe. On top of that I am a man who believes that the government is totally unable to help people who have real needs. Helping people who have needs is the job of churches and if we would actually step up and care about people more than we care about arguing against the other party much of this would be fixed.

With that being said, rhetoric matters. Flowery words are important because they inspire. They motivate us to rise up against injustice and to be shake off the indifference and apathy that pull us down like quicksand. Rhetoric is the cool water that wets dry throats and the fire that starts the flames of real change.

Whether or not the President of this country agrees with everything that I agree with he is inspiring people. He is helping people to feel like they have a voice in the country again. He is stirring people to be a part of making a difference. Now, I know that much of what he has said is simply rhetoric, but that is OK. He doesn’t have to change the world. He can inspire a generation of people, most of which probably know how to fix the problems they are facing much better than he does.

No matter if you agree with him or not you can’t deny that having more voices involved in the process is a good thing and having people inspired to really even better. I do believe that the Obamamania will subside. When it does I feel bad for him because I think there will be a lot of people who expect him to do things that the president really can’t do, but I also think that having more people involved in the process will be a legacy that he can be proud of.

Whether I agree with anything that President Obama says or not I can stand and say that his election is an amazing thing for our country. Electing a minority is nearly unheard of in the history of the world. Even though I was adamantly opposed to his platform and him as a candidate I can still be excited for the historical significance. Let’s remember that a little over 40 years ago black people were shot because they were registering to vote. Who would have imagined in those years that we would have an African American president who won not just the “black vote” but the hearts and minds of most of this country as well.

Time will come to have debates over policy. Our country seems to be standing on the edge of a cliff and I think many of the ideas of this new administration are going to push us over the edge. But let’s take a deep breath, stop looking for a fight, and simply be amazed at this moment. You never know if you will get a chance to experience anything like it again.

(with all of that said I do wish that Kieth Oberman and his little protege would be a little less smug. They make it hard to be excited about this moment because they want to keep reminding everyone that they won)

14 thoughts on “Rhetoric

  • January 22, 2009 at 10:45 PM
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    Yes, yes, words have the power to inspire and push people to action. I am a lover of words, as anyone who knows me will attest to. BUT, the danger is buying into "flowery words and rhetoric" in my opinion, is that so many people fail to see underlying messages. They hear powerful pretty speaches, and look past things that Obama, and otehr politicians really DO. For example, yesterday, Obama passed legislation that will allow my tax dollars to fund abortions overseas.

    Now, I could listen to his pretty words, and think how sweet and perfect "Obama-Messiah" is. And fail to see how he is already choosing how my money will be spent.

    I guess my main point, is that I don’t trust his flowery words and pretty speeches. God has given me gift of discernment, and while I don;t speak of it often, it is always been right so far. And he makes me anteneas (I misspelled that but I am too lay to go look it up) stand straight up.

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  • January 22, 2009 at 10:52 PM
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    And yes, I agree wiht you. This administration will push the country over the edge, as you said. But it is not my opinion that it is the edge we want to fall over…

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  • January 22, 2009 at 11:06 PM
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    That word was lazy, not lay. And I relaise it sounded arrogant to say the bit about gift of discermnment, and I don;’ intend it to be. But that is the best way I know to describe the feelings I get about this man.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 1:24 AM
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    If it relaxes your antennae, just pretend that it’s my money funding the foreign abortions and yours can be used to clean up the war in Iraq. Everybody feel better? In less than four years, we can undergo the political process again and see if the majority of the people feel different.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 2:50 AM
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    The edge I was talking about was a bad one too. But I believe that you can disagree with his policies and still recognize the importance of the moment. And now for better or worse he is our president and now we need to hope that he succeeds.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 4:20 AM
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    How bout this…I will hope he is not what I fear he is. Is that good enough?

    And Andrew….sticking my head in the sand and "pretending" anything won’t help this country.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 6:46 AM
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    I understand where you guys are coming from. I am worried about where this country will go under a democratic regime, too.

    I do want to point out something, though. President Obama plans to pass an executive order that will remove the ban to fund international organizations that promote abortions (the ban put in place by Reagan, removed by Clinton, and then put back in place by Bush). While it seems that it will issue the executive order soon he actually hasn’t done it yet because he chose not to do it on the anniversary of Roe v Wade.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 7:08 AM
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    In this week that we have had such a historic moment, it is wonderful to revel in the progress that our nation has made, having now elected a president who is black (forgive me if I do not use the popular categorization, but I have an african-american friend who is whiter than me). Unfortunately, it is also sobering to realize that the person whom we elected as our first black president was elected in large part because he is black…and because he is an excellent orator.

    His anointing in the press and the popular media’s blatant refusal to point out anything unsavory about him made this election more about hype than about substance or character. So we elected a president about whom we know very little. Except that he is exception at giving speeches. Numerous samplings of supporters showed that massive numbers of them knew NOTHING of what he stood for. All that mattered was the color of his skin, or his party of choice.

    It has been stated here that flamboyant rhetoric is good, because it inspires people. I must respectfully disagree. Rhetoric without substance is simply dangerous. Adolf Hitler used such rhetoric to ‘inspire’ the mobs. We know where that led. There are plenty of examples in history of flamboyant leaders inciting crowds to do what made no logical sense (the cries of ”Crucify Him Crucify Him’, come to mind). The words that are said matter as much as the way they are uttered. For years, there has been an ideological struggle of symbolism versus substance. The battle between what looks good and what is right.

    While inspiring people is important, what they are inspired to is more important.

    Remember that the fires of change can produce a better future…..or a holocaust. For it is written that life and death are in the power of the tongue. The rhetoric can provide either. So we must be careful of what we are getting.

    So, we understand and accept the momentous event, we respect the authority of the office and the person who has been placed there (by God), we pray for him unceasingly, for he is our president, but we do not have to accept empty words. We can demand from the beginning that his words carry real meaning, and that his actions represent the values of our nation.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 3:27 PM
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    Seriously? Hitler? Breathe guys. We have had democrats in power before and we survived. For one day can’t we simply stop worrying about whose side is right and simply embrace the power of the moment.

    If you will move back to the original post you will see that I wasn’t talking about not examining President Obama. I wasn’t talking about a very powerful speech no matter how you look at it, and Christians can rail against him and this moment or we can embrace it and use the fervor of the moment to steer people towards change that actually produces real results, not just a cosmetic touch up.

    Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

    That is a rallying cry that churches should get behind. We have freedom, real freedom, let’s take that freedom to our nation and to the world. Let’s not stand against the rising tide and say that it is wrong, but rather let’s direct the tide towards the freedom that comes from Jesus Christ.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 9:45 PM
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    Yes, seriously, Hitler….it’s called making a point with a ridiculous example so as to not miss it for being too subtle (though alot of people would take that Hitler analogy completely in stride).

    And should we EVER just put aside what is right, just for a cool moment? Sounds like a serious case of compromise.

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  • January 23, 2009 at 10:13 PM
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    Not just a cool moment, a historic moment. There is a big difference. But politics is a series of compromises. It shouldn’t be, but often it is. To choose a candidate that supports the rights of the unborn means we also have to choose a candidate that supports torture. To follow someone who actually likes the environment means that we must follow someone who thinks the government should run our lives. It isn’t a good system, but it is our system.

    As a Christian I believe that I can look at a situation–a speech or a moment–and see the positive parts of that situation. It doesn’t mean that I turn off all of my discernment. It doesn’t mean that suddenly I follow blindly whatever is happening, but you can’t deny that this is a historic moment not only in American politics but in the history of the world.

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  • January 24, 2009 at 1:06 PM
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    This would be a great topic for the AreObamagas

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  • January 24, 2009 at 3:54 PM
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    I’m not sure I understand your term Andrew, but I doubt it is very nice. One wonders why you are so quick to be rude rather than stating your actual opinions…..

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  • January 24, 2009 at 7:56 PM
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    As a quick defense. There used to be a section of Nailscars.com called the Areopogus. It was named after the place in Acts where Paul stood up and spoke to the Greeks about their statue to an unknown God. Some people thought it was funny to continually misspell the name of that section when referring to it. Mostly to point out how many times I would unintentionally misspell it myself. I am assuming the the AreObamagas thing is a lame attempt at a similar joke. It doubt it was meant to be rude, just calling back to old Nailscars.com in-jokes.

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