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

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Scriptures: 

James 1:2-4

John 14:27

Romans 16:20

Luke 21:19

Psalm 118:5-6

Psalm 94:19

Romans 8:28

Psalm 55:22

Isaiah 40:31

Psalm 16:8

Joshua 1:9

Proverbs 3:5-6

1 Peter 5:7

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please grant me peace of mind and calm my troubled heart. My soul is like the wild sea. I can't seem to find my balance so I stumble and stress constantly. Give me the strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose and walk the path you've laid out for me. I trust your love, God, and know that you will take this stress. Just as the sun rises each day against the dark of night, please bring me clarity with the light of God.

-Amen

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Winfrey's Words On Sexual Assault Touch The Hearts Of Men And Women

The speech that has the nation talking.

For those of you who missed the Golden Globes on Sunday, January 7, Oprah Winfrey, the first black female recipient of the Cecil B. deMille Award delivered a rather ground-breaking speech on behalf of African Americans and women at large leaving many speculating her potential candidacy in the election of 2020.

In 1952, the annual tradition of presenting the Cecil B. deMille Award began when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association resolved to institute an honor that would recognize an individual's "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment."

It may have come as a surprise that Winfrey's acceptance speech did not touch on any of her previous achievements as many recipients of the award have in the past. Rather, she took this opportunity to share a movingly vivid recollection of a historical event involving the rape of a young African American woman by the name of Recy Taylor.

As Winfrey shared, one evening in 1944, Taylor was returning home from church when she was seized and blindfolded by six white men who raped and left her on the side of the road. She lived to be 97 years old and drew her last breath in her sleep at a nursing home located in Abbeville, Alabama on December 28, 2017.

Winfrey's speech reflected heavily on sexual harassment and the Me Too Movement. Me Too, or #MeToo, sparked recently in October among several other social media hashtags designed to encourage women to speak out and share their stories of sexual violence.

However, what remains undoubtedly most commendable about Winfrey's speech is the fact that while she clearly stands for women, their rights, and the stand against abuse, she continues to remain an equalist. This is seen through her careful and brilliant use of language. While she spoke of our ever-growing strong feminine power, she did not use concrete words. Words that would suggest men as the inferior. In fact at the end of her speech, she did just the opposite. She brought the viewer's attention to men as well resulting in the crowd—comprised of thousands of women and men—rising to their feet for a standing ovation.

Cover Image Credit: abc NEWS

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