By: Maddie Miller
A call for unity has been made. While watching President Obama’s Farewell Address as a class, multiple students at The Washington Center began to peek their heads in, and proceeded to watch this speech with us.
As a class and with our professors, we welcomed these other students, scooting over to make room for others also interested in such an event. This simple gesture of encouraging others to join in seemed to put into action the sort of invitations that we as American people should be sending out. We should be putting into practice what we have started to preach.
After experiential moments provided through the academic session this morning, and visits to the Department of State and PYREXA Global, it is safe to say that various rhetoric choices were made. Whether it was the language of business, politics, religion, or a myriad of other topics, the way that statements and questions are presented influences the responses.
Through today’s presentations, we found that the demonstrated rhetoric from our experiences is also being reflected in American political discourse. Our panel from the morning seminar noted the difference of political discourse that is provided by a president-elect who has had minimal formal political experience. This change in speech stands in sharp contrast to the particularly calculated words of Obama’s final speech as the acting president this evening.
Our meeting with PYREXA Global employee and Drake graduate, Matt Clark, demonstrated how powerful speech can be within the non-profit world. Clark’s focus of working with for-profit companies to provide opportunities for sustainable development outreach has taught him that adjusting to the audience is important to getting things done. For the many business individuals that he works with, the information that is most persuasive is not that of emotion, but rather qualitative data.
Moving forward with the new administration will reveal how a political outsider’s rhetoric does or does not develop to match with that of the political establishments.