Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Michelle Obama, Democratic National Convention, August 2008

Michelle Obama delivered an emotional and heart-felt speech at the Democratic National Convention, in front of an audience eager to soak up traces of hope.

Throughout the delivery of her speech, Obama made her advisory clear. The consistent world-view of "you can make it if you try," was exemplified numerous times as an avenue to reach the middle-class voting demographic. In fact much of the rhetoric of her speech, if comparing to Marston's four principles focuses on a large implied audience. The actual audience at the convention is clear: Obama supporters. Their support does not waiver. However, it was apparent that Obama had the responsibility to relate to an implied audience--the middle class. She did this through relating her own experiences growing up as well as her husband's. What results is a fulfillment of a general need. At the time of this address, and still to this day, the economy and loss of jobs is a major concern for many Americans. Responding to this economic crisis, Obama made it clear that hard work and a "never give-up" attitude will fulfill this need. She said at one point, "you work hard for what you want in life," thereby explaining a fulfillment while also injecting her and Barack's worldview and value system.

This value system is presented in a very relatable way. That is to say, Obama presents her world-view in a way that counters any political elitism.

She also made it clear that her life revolves around her family. There has been much criticism of Mrs. Obama regarding her capacity to mother and her nurturing demeanor. What the audience sees at the beginning of the speech is rhetoric appealing to her softer side. She says that her daughters are the center of her world and her "beat of my heart." The stylized performance ( arguably a performance or not) uses language often associated with a soft and nurturing mother. She leaves no room to doubt she is anything less than a hands-on mother.

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