Effective/Affective Rhetoric

“… To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist…”

(US President Barack Hussein Obama, Inaugural Speech, January 20, 2009)

Build. Destroy. Right. Wrong. Extend. Clench.

Notice how some of the most impactful and stirring of statements, resonate simply because they call on the bi-polar and converse natures of our reality. With the parallels  already drawn between Obama and JFK, we rewind to some of Kennedy’s words at his inauguration on January 20, 1961:

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

“And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”

There is an aesthetic value in contradiction; these cleverly-constructed sentence that are universes unto themselves.

An aside:
As if you didn’t feel inadequate enough, at 27, Jon Favreau is the youngest Director of Speechwriting the White House has ever had.