Rhetorical Analysis: Church Vs. States

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JFK: Church vs. State In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney was voted to be the Republican candidate running against the returning Democratic candidate and President of the United States, Barack Obama. Romney was doing well in the polls, but ended up a few electoral votes shy of winning the presidency. A number of factors played a role in Governor Romney’s defeat, but was it his religious beliefs that proved to be his ultimate character flaw in the eyes of the American public? According to a Gallup poll in 2011, it might have been. The poll reveals that 22 percent of registered voters in the United States would be reluctant to vote for a Mormon man to represent the country as president (Saad 2011). While this might come as a shock…show more content…
pg 134). He talks about how a political party in Quebec was formed using constitutive rhetoric. The party used constitutive rhetoric to create a new identity for its people and separate from the rest of Canada. This theory of rhetoric creates a message in which the audience is the primary interpreter of the text and creator of identity. This demonstrates the connection between constitutive rhetoric and identity. In order house constitutive rhetoric the speaker must be able to create an identity that the audience can relate to. Another example of a person using constitutive rhetoric to develop a common identity with the audience is in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” King faced the hardship of being a black man during a transitional period of America, where African-Americans were still treated as lesser than white Americans. In Michael Leff and Ebony A. Utley’s article, they describe how Martin Luther King Jr. successfully used constitutive rhetoric in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech to create a more unified identity among his black and white audiences. Consequently, ending the civil rights movement and making a more equal…show more content…
The first is identifying the constraints of the situation and the second is creating an identity for himself. Similar to the problems Martin Luther King Jr. faced, Kennedy walked into the Rice Hotel that day already having a disadvantage among his audience. Being a catholic was Kennedy’s biggest constraint that he had to address to a room full of protestants. Kennedy knew that the only way he could get the protestant vote in the upcoming election was if he could find a way to relate with the audience. Kennedy does so by listing what he believes America is, much as King did. Kennedy goes on to talk about how people came and still come to America from all over the world to practice whatever religion they see fit, how America is able to separate church from state, how America does not force any religious or cultural beliefs on anyone, and if we did any of these things it would be un-American (Kennedy 1960). Kennedy goes on to drive his identity and his views of what America represents to the audience when he mentions how he fought in the military for the same freedom that our founding fathers left England for and the Constitution was established on. Clearly listing what he believes America is and showing this shared value of being able to practice any religion freely is what made the protestant identify with

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