Friday, February 14, 2020

John F. Kennedy, Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation delivered Personal Statement

John F. Kennedy, Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation delivered 22 October 1962 - Personal Statement Example Kennedy starts out with a greeting, addressing my fellow citizens. He builds trust by assuring that the government has fulfilled its promise to protect the security of the people. He establishes government transparency by being over-detailed. He tells, for example, the day and time that the horrifying information came to him. Who can doubt it? He says that he feels obliged to report the situation to the American people, in fullest detail. From the initial greeting, Kennedy begins to work on the underlying mythology of the people. My Fellow Citizens may seem like an innocuous formal greeting, but a closer examination is warranted. Without the possessive form, connection would be denoted, but with the possessive form, the phrase assigns ownership. It is not an objectification of the people, necessarily, but implies patriarchal connection. He is President, father of the people. Fathers are strong and they are in charge. Fathers use wisdom to protect and advise, and to neutralize threats to the family. So this very first word sets people into a mental space of respecting his authority, surrendering to the superiority of his role. The second word he uses, fellow, implies his humility, his solidarity with the people. Although the father is in charge, and although he wields superior wisdom in managing and defending the family, he needs their support. While obedience can be forced, respect and loyalty cannot. A leader is more effective when people want to follow. Through the use of this single word, Kennedy implies voluntary loyalty and trust, rather than stressing his right of power and the people’s duty of obedience. Kennedy makes abundant use of quotes from the Soviets. In a sense, he is taunting them, using their quotes to show how ridiculously inconsistent and untrustworthy they are. He is polarizing their character in relation to American character. This strategy dehumanizes the Soviets so that they are uncritically accepted as The Enemy. Rather than attri buting each quote to a person, he repeatedly introduces their statements with, and I quote the Soviet Government. This makes him seem honest and accurate in his portrayal of their position. A direct quote, after all, is apparent proof that they said what he thought they said. No critical thought is needed. Yet, in truth, context is everything, and a statement out of context can be completely misleading. When a quote is attributed to a particular person, it can be more easily rationalized by assuming that the person had a bad day, overstepped his authority or is unreasonable but, after all, does not represent a national orientation. When a quote is attributed to a government, it is more total than that. It is reflective of an implacable condition. Furthermore, when quotes are attributed to a government, any inconsistencies can be presented as singular inconsistencies. For example, if the Soviet President says A and the Soviet Prime Minister says B, and the Soviet Defense Minister say s C, and if ABC are lumped together as being what the government said, then differences in opinion or context, presented as inconsistencies, will be understood lies. Kennedy presents the United States as entirely good. He presents the Soviet Union as immoral and

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