A Dissection Of Trump's Downright Offensive Inaugural Address

A Dissection Of Trump's Downright Offensive Inaugural Address

After a close reading of Trump's speech, a review of its literary and logical aspects. Ought to be read after reading the speech; link provided at start.

After doing a close reading of Trump's speech, I believe that Trump should fire his speechwriter. This is not about Trump's political views. This is about the quality of writing and nearly offensive lack of logic.

Language-wise, the address comes short. The rhetoric fails to underscore any meaningful point. There is emotion in its usage, but it's the empty emotion of watching other children's ballet performances. Even though you clap and try to remind yourself of the precious nature of children, even though you know you are supposed to feel something, you are ultimately unstirred. "The American carnage stops right here and right now" is abuse of language; it is redundancy. The speechwriter also falls back on cliches invoking expressions that were first employed literally hundreds of years ago and hand-waving inspirational quotes about dreams or dreaming the same dream or the exceptional nature of America. The one fling at imagery, a comparison between factories and tombstones, feels overwrought, like Victorian hysteria, because it sticks out so much among the other bland expressions. There is nothing new in this speech, nothing grating or fresh. Even Don DeLillo's stilted, inhuman dialogue makes you sit up and notice something. There is nothing demanding in here; you could sleep through it. It's the same touchstones of "freedom" and "America" and "patriotism" and the lame urgency of our current situation—a total bore.

The language is not streamlined either. There is no coherence in the description of our disappearing factories or failing education system which culminates in the pronouncement of these troubles as "carnage." Nothing warrants this word; there is no set-up. Trump's speechwriter utilizes classic metaphorical expressions (e.g., "robbing" someone of something intangible, "stealing" someone's life) that most people would never directly connect to violence because most people have heard these phrases before. This is continued throughout the speech; description of various phenomena is discrete and treated independently. There is no sign of the governing "vision" which Trump promotes within the speech.

Worse yet is the condemnation of Trump that the speechwriter allows to slip through. The pronouns are out of control. The speechwriter can't even pretend that Trump's assertions were consistent. Trump flip flops between "we the people" and "you the people" and even throws in a "they the something else that may also be part of the people." It's a total mess and acknowledges the uncomfortable truth that Trump's central message—that as a member of the "people" and as president, he will be a conduit for the people's will—is impossible. Trump is not a member of the "people" because he holds power over us. The speechwriter failed even to pretend that this is true. It's not like this artifice would have been difficult to maintain either. Simply consistently using "we the people" would have worked. Trump's speechwriter inadvertently introduces a point of view that contradicts Trump's own message and does so out of total incompetence.

Logic is also glaringly absent. The speechwriter makes Donald Trump look like a fool by constructing all sorts of poor arguments. In asserting that patriotism will lead us to affection for one another and unity, the speechwriter dips into some symbolic physical realm to make a completely abstract argument. In arguing that we are all patriots because we bleed red blood, the speechwriter confuses correlation with causation. The speechwriter even knocks Kellyanne Conway out of the water by turning to tautologies to assert our unity. He or she could have just said "might makes right" and called it a day.

This speech is offensive. Yes, it attempts to deceive the American people, but it does so shockingly poorly. A careful reader can feel the clumsiness of the author, careening from side to side knocking vases over while trying to delicately guide the needle of public opinion. It displays a middle schooler's skill at writing and five year-old's skill at logic. Someone should be fired for this awful thing.

Cover Image Credit: NBC News

Popular Right Now

'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.


It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

You Might Love Being A CNA, But That Compassion Won't Show Up In Your Paycheck

A big heart means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet.


To the ones who love their job and doing what they do but is on the fence about leaving their job, I was in your shoes, too.

I knew when I started my job as a CNA (certified nurse's assistant), it would be a hard one. If you know anything about the job duties of a CNA, you'll quickly understand that for all of the work that we do, we're ridiculously underpaid and overworked.

I'll start by saying I loved my job.

Though the days were long and I was on my feet more than I sat down during the day, I loved being able to help people. I loved being able to make people smile and hear a simple "Thank you" and sometimes, that's all I needed for my day to do a full 360. I could be having the worst day in the world and covered in random bodily fluids, but walking out of a resident's room and hearing them quietly tell you that they appreciate what you've done for them, that's truly the one thing that can change my entire day, knowing that my hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

But compassion doesn't pay mine or anyone else's bills.

Someone could love their job and be happy to be there every single shift, but when you're overworked but so underpaid, your compassion may not leave, but your bills begin to pile up and you're stuck with not knowing what to do. If you're anything like me, you'll be so conflicted about leaving your job to find something better financially, but you know that you're leaving a job you enjoy doing and you may not find that enjoyment elsewhere.

At the end of the day, you have to realize what would be best for you. You can be the most compassionate about your job, but that compassion means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet. I know from experience that if you're in a field like mine, it's hard to leave because you know people will need you, but you have to do what's best for you and only you.

Compassion doesn't pay the bills.

You may have to leave a job that you love, but there are so many opportunities out there and, who knows, you might find one you enjoy just as equally.

Related Content

Facebook Comments