Analysis of Michael Bloomberg’s Speech on the Proposed Building of an Islamic Culture Centre
To sum up, Michael Bloomberg’s speech follows the classic forms of rhetoric – it starts off with a strong introduction, following up with a narration, proposition – stating the facts of the issue at hand, division, proof of the validity of his arguments and a refutation of arguments advanced against his point of view, which he does by saying: “It is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our City even closer together and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam.” The concluding statement of the refutation is strong and straightforward and effectively sums up Bloomberg’s argument – any religious group is welcome to worship in New York. The conclusion also follows the classic pattern of rhetoric – briefly summing up the argument and, in the end, appealing to the audience’s emotions and values by saying that “political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure.”
As Fernandez notes, there is a new, pronounced awareness about human affairs – they are not to be taken literally and as a given, but rather as a metaphor, or, indeed, rhetoric (Fernandez, 1991: 1). One should be informed that, with political rhetoric especially, there is a common goal which is to create a common, homogenous ground for future action, and the devices employed by rhetors can strongly influence popular opinion if unaware or frightened (Mral, 2004: 33). As it is visible from the example of Michael Bloomberg’s speech, rhetoric is irrevocably tied to the notions of culture – to gain a perspective as to what and why is being said, it is necessary to look at the culture and socio-historical conditions. Through this combined glass of perspectives, a clearer view of the intents and purposes of the rhetor emerges. It appears that both statements on the nature of rhetoric, Oxford Dictionary and Socrates, can be seen as valid as it is elucidated in Michael Bloomberg’s rhetoric.
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