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Ted Kennedy - Truth and Tolerance.pdf
Rhetoric Question Week1 02042014.doc

Whalen,Gloria A

Kennedy, Truth and Tolerance in America
1. Was the text you examined, in fact, rhetoric? Justify your answer using what we've read so far.
Ted Kennedy’s, “Truth and Tolerance in America” is one public address that is in fact rhetorical. His address is delivered to the specific audience of students of Liberty University including Dr. Falwell. In his address, Kennedy (1983) includes aesthetic language effective in bridging the audience’s preconceived judgments of him and of his ideas. The delivery is poetic in the sense that Kennedy is standing on delicate ground. As Hart (2005) explains, “Human history has been written by great people creating great messages for social betterment. Often, these great statements have seemed more poetic than pragmatic, as satisfying to the heart as to the head” (p5). Kennedy leverages his religious and patriotic background in order to ease the minds of this audience. Allowing the students to care about what is being said, Kennedy strengthens his argument.
Kennedy also uses logic to deliver his message, traditional Aristotelian logos to connect reason for his visit. As Wrage (1947, 452) describes the public address as speech that, “contributes in substantial ways to the history of ideas.” Kennedy shares his thoughts and opinion in favor of Nuclear Freeze with the understanding that his audience does not share his beliefs.
In an effort to stimulate new ideas to this young scholarly audience, Kennedy identifies with them on a Christian level they can relate to. His poetic delivery, “After all, in the New Testament, even the Disciples had to be taught to look first to the beam in their own eyes, and only then to the mote in their neighbor’s eyes.” (Kennedy, paragraph 2) captures the values of this audience.
Kennedy’s delivery is rhetoric due to the fact that it contains language specific for this audience, the context and everything considered is what makes this piece effective.

2. What does your study teach someone about how the message studied worked as rhetoric? (If it didn't, freely admit that and explain what it did do.)
My critical analysis of Kennedy’s, Truth and Tolerance in America embraces the artistry of the Rhetor. In my research findings there are facts about the Rhetor that were common knowledge at that time. The dialectic viewpoint of Kennedy’s past set the stage for this audience and his relationship with them. He knew he was addressing a Christian audience, strong in moral convictions. However, my analysis also supports the positive impact this Senator had on the American people. In fact, the idea that Kennedy endorsed middle class Americans contributed to his positive image. By identifying the many laws that were enacted during his term, I show support towards Kennedy’s perspective on the needs of middle class American families.
Those who identify with Natanson on his, Limits of Rhetoric will see the philosophical angle of the Rhetor in my analysis. Against odds, Kennedy developed a peer-to-peer relationship with his audience establishing common ground, grasping at all commonality with the audience. As Natanson (1955) so poetically phrases, “Thus rhetoric stands in relation to philosophy as science stands in relation to philosophy. In both cases, philosophy investigates what both disciplines presuppose: knowledge, existence, communication, and value. Just as the philosophy of science analyzes the meaning of such elements as ‘fact,’ ‘causation,’ and ‘law,’ so the philosophy of rhetoric studies the elements of ‘language,’ meaning,’ and ‘persuasion.’” (p139) In my analysis I describe how Kennedy uses language, meaning, and persuasion to effectively communicate with his audience. The rhetorical value is presented in the form of observing how his speech language will not be remembered as specific data but more on how the audience will feel in years to come. The patriotic imagery, Christian beliefs and the American family values are emphasized throughout Kennedy’s delivery and I attempt to highlight this as key rhetorical elements of his address.
In conclusion, the effect of my analysis should have portrayed an image of a humbled individual with although tarnished personal life, has made thoughtful strides in improving his image, building new ground and support for his policy ideas while focusing on protecting middle America.

Hart, R.P., & Daughton, S. (2005). Modern rhetorical criticism (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Kennedy, E.M. (1983). Speech, Truth and tolerance in America. Delivered at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.
Natanson, M. (1955). The limits of rhetoric. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 41(2), 133-139.
Wrage, E.J. (1947). Public address: A study in social and intellectual history. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 33(4), 451-457.