Doubling Student Interest Rates
Rhetoric is an art that mainly involves discourse through persuasion and conviction. Rhetors are the people with the confidence to convince a particular community or a group of people to view issues in his or her own perspective. On the other hand, rhetoricians examine rhetoric works critically to draw valid conclusions on the strength of the work. Rhetoric began back with Aristotle from ancient Greece when he delved into examination of rhetoric and developed it in three different forms namely logos, ethos, pathos (Aristotle et al, 1954). The Roman Empire followed suit in absorbing the ideas from Greece and later made necessary modifications on them. As people became more civilized over the centuries, they incorporated rhetoric acts into their societal systems in the advocacy of liberty. People are free to bring forth their ideas and correction in a manner that promotes understanding rather than conflict in a bid to gain acceptance from the group or community addressed.
Role of Rhetor
The president of the United States, Barrack Obama, has been an advocate for change since he ventured into the political dimension. As a rhetor, he campaigned for change during his presidential candidacy and set out to make people believe in his ideologies. Rhetoric is based on logical arguments by the rhetor, his or her ability to evoke positive emotions from the addressed group and the rhetor’s reputable image. The political spectrum of the United States comprises of debates as a prudent method of arriving at solutions in the case of conflicts. Different leaders have different assumptions and to bring them forward, they rely on Congress to provide an avenue for logical arguments. In the same way, the president is obligated to present his or her new ideas to the congress. Therefore, in this paper, we shall analyze the rhetoric work of President Obama of the weekly address in which he called out on congress to prevent student interest rates from doubling.
President Obama’s address can be analyzed according to the three forms of rhetoric by Aristotle and they are namely, logos, pathos and ethos (Aristotle et al, 1954). Logos explores the logics behind the argument stated by the rhetor, pathos refers to emotional impact the rhetoric has on an audience and ethos is the way the rhetor carries him or herself out in relation to his likeness in the particular society. According to Obama’s address, it is evident that his ideas hold water because he uses an inductive logical argument (Spence, 1995). He uses a real life example of a woman student from Lorain County Community College in Ohio who is known as Andrea Ashley. The president compares the woman’s scenario of unemployment to many other American’s who do not have a degree. He becomes deductive in his argument when he compares most of the American he has met desperately looking for jobs to everyone else in America and emphasizes the need for congress intervention. Obama’s core objective is to increase employment because from his survey, he believes that successful education in higher learning will foster employment.
Linguistic Tone and Implied Audience
The president compares the vulnerability of jobseekers with that of employers when he realizes that the two parties cannot be compatible if the requirement of employment, which is a degree, is not met by the job seeker. Obama composes his facts in a clear language with a twist bring Americans to the understanding that his intention is re-establish an education system that will benefit the country as a whole. His tone attempts to lure the ordinary citizen and to make the issue a wake up call for congress to act towards change. He asserts that the government’s major role is to avail higher education for every American citizen so that they are not faced with financial challenges that deter them from accomplishing the academic mission. According to Henderson & Henderson (1974), many students in the institutions have suffered with huge debts because of the loans they register for, proving the emergence of a budget that is quite expensive. The president’s other goal is to convince Congress to consider the tax cuts on wealthy Republicans and the deprivation of learning opportunities for middle-class families so as to divert impetus on education and training programs for jobs. His address evokes feelings and demands attention when he uses practical examples to support his logic. Many Americans would be provoked to share their views on tax cuts of wealthy people in the government at the expense of middle-class families. In his service to America, Obama has vehemently called for congress to restructure conditions of higher education to the relief of Americans. Nonetheless, he insists on prevention of doubling student loans through an affirmative action by Congress.
Four factors that determine the barriers or advantages of rhetoric include, values, belies and attitudes of the audience, the relevance of the rhetoric in timing, the image of the rhetor and the situational aspect such as culture and norms. Critics have challenged his view of the congress preventing increase in the interest rates of student loans. Carr & Porfilio (2011) criticize Obama’s education policy in America. The Republicans in Congress have constantly negated the idea because they believe that it will play a grand role in increasing the federal deficit. They do not have a positive attitude towards the approach thus; they become barriers to the execution of the proposal. Here, as a democrat, Obama’s assumptions on what is best for America differ from those of the republicans because both parties stand for opposite ideologies. Some Americans in opposition believe that Obama’s perspective on student’s loan is overstated since they argue that most of unemployment is a result of huge student debts from loans. Obama’s supporters share the belief that college tuition should not be so high to discourage the students. In their view, the bloated bureaucracy in the administration of the universities and colleges after the government’s subsidies is the cause for a heightened tuition fee. The government’s budget cut on institutions of higher learning have forced most administrators in the institution to hike tuition prices to meet the rising demands of potential students in relation to their preferred courses. However, this will limit the number of students enrolled and the poor ones will not get a chance to be educated.
The relevance of Obama’s rhetoric in timing in this context is evident because most students from poor and middle-class families have been able familiarize themselves with his promising idea. The rate of unemployment has risen exceptionally and Obama’s idea on the regulation of students’ loans is a route towards improvement in the case of employment opportunities among Americans. Most of them community colleges that cater for the average American miss adequate job training that they need to have a license to employment because the universities are raising the financial radar quite high for them. Obama’s argument on the republicans’ tax cuts gives the students the revelation of the barrier that is between them and their dreams. Obama’s rhetoric in this case is advantageous to such Americans because their views are represented in the government and so the agenda is likely to be tackled with precision. The proponents feel that Obama’s suggestion holds water because, if the congress does not act on the situation as soon as possible, most students will drop out and not graduated and the huge loans will impose mortgage risks in their future lives. They will become the working poor as explained by Shipler (2005). However, some opponents claim that college students are financially strained because most of their money is diverted to irrelevant cases such as telephone bills.
The situational barrier to the proposed reduction of rates of student’s loan is the inability of community colleges to fund further enrollment because of the government’s financial retraction. The colleges have been forced to contemplate on rising tuition fees just as the for-profit universities and colleges. College administrators are aware of the negative impact the policy will have on potential and current students but they also not that they are left with no choice. Obama’s logic implies that if the budget is revised to maintain a balance in finances allocated to higher learning institutions, there will be no need to double the loan interests for the functionality of the students. Being a decisive man the President planned to visit colleges in America to express his rhetoric and give the students hope that something will eventually be done to avert the predicament (The White House April 21, 2012). President Barrack Obama is famously known for having the power to persuade, hence, his charismatic personality also counts in his address. First, it is an advantage because the vulnerable are able to have confidence in his strategies. During his presidential campaign in 2008, his main idea was change in America and his persuasive power earned him enough votes that got him to the position he is today. Congress would also have to consider Obama’s popularity and his achievements. On the other hand, critics have highlighted his failed policies such as the economic lapse and high unemployment rates of the country and this perspective becomes a barrier since it affects other people’s beliefs, attitudes and values.
The strategy outlined by Obama in his rhetoric is to constantly call for Congress to prevent doubling interests on student loans. “We cannot just cut our way to prosperity. Making it harder for our young people to afford higher education and earn their degrees is nothing more than cutting our own future off at the knees. Congress needs to keep interest rates on student loans from doubling, and they need to do it now” (The White House, April 21, 2012). The aim of this is to avoid the increase in loan interests on more than 7.4 million students in America whose debt will go up by $1,000 .Second; the president is to examine the reasons for the exorbitant fee structure of the numerous students from across the country. Another strategy is to visit colleges and universities across the country to reinforce his views and conduct an official campaign concerning a relief on students’ loans. This will aim at bending the attitudes and beliefs of every American whether Republican or Democrat, towards the students’ right to education (Trepanier, 2011). Addressing the students will empower them to rally for approval by congress. The president believes that the unemployment rates will drop if students are given a chance to complete higher learning successfully without constraints so that they obtain degrees. The degrees will serve to give them a smooth entrance in the jobs that they deem fit. Obama implies that once the rate of unemployment goes down, the economy of the country will be revamped. Another strategy that Obama proposes to relieve the community colleges in terms of finance is for congress to revisit the federal budget and for Republicans to consider the importance of such funding without selfish interests such as their tax cuts. The president is confident to relay the message of the right to education by every American, whether poor or rich.
American beliefs, attitudes and values are different; therefore, it takes a lot of patience to bring everyone to a common understanding Obama’s strategy for campaigning for the students’ interest across the country will work to influence people’s mentality and it will earn him a lot of support to put Congress on the hot seat. Airing his views on Congress debates only will not give the idea much impetus. Therefore, his strategy of double campaign gives the issue more weight and makes it the agenda that must be addressed. Obama’s strategy of enhancing his reputation among Americans will also be of an advantage to counter some of the pre-conceived ideas people have of him regarding his initiation of policies. Obama’s push on Congress to revisit the education financial budget would work to remove the situational barrier of the community colleges resembling for-profit higher learning institutions. His rhetoric is far much appropriate at the time when there is a deadline of tuition for middle-class families and at time when the employment rate is heading towards its epitome.
Concisely, rhetoric is the art that expresses liberalism for change on a particular system to realize success (Crocker, 1967). President Barrack Obama has been successful in his rhetoric. He realized a problem in the education policy and critically assessed it to understand the root of major problems in America such as high rate of unemployment and economic crisis. Therefore, he designed his address with logical arguments, impact on emotions to influence belief and attitudes and upheld his reputation in terms of taking affirmative actions on the students’ welfare. His vision is an America with graduates who can get the required jobs and boost the economy in the various industries they subscribe to for a living. Therefore, his rhetoric has managed to convince me that the interest rates of student loans should not be hiked.
Aristotle, ., Roberts, W. R., Bywater, I., & In Solmsen, F. (1954). Rhetoric. New York: Modern Library.
Carr, P. R., & Porfilio, B. J. (2011). The phenomenon of Obama and the agenda for education: Can hope audaciously trump neoliberalism?. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Pub.
Crocker, L. (1967). Rhetorical analysis of speeches. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Henderson, A. D., & Henderson, J. G. (1974). Higher education in America: [problems, priorities, and prospects]. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Shipler, D. K. (2005). The working poor: Invisible in America. New York: Vintage Books.
Spence, G. (1995). How to argue and win every time: At home, at work, in court, everywhere, every day. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
The White House (April 21, 2012). WEEKLY ADDRESS: Calling on Congress to Prevent Student Interest Rates from Doubling. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/21/weekly-address-calling-congress-prevent-student-interest-rates-doubling
Trepanier, L. (2011). Political rhetoric and leadership in democracy. Cedar City, Utah: Southern Utah Nelson, P. E., & Pearson, J. C. (2005). Confidence in public speaking. Los Angeles, Calif: Roxbury Pub. University Press.