The Asian American Dream
How it works
The State of the Union took place on Feb 5, 2019, and brought many controversy and arguments. The president’s speech, as well as the rebuttal speeches argue about the adequate ways to run the country, and what’s best for Americans. Donald Trump, Stacey Abrams, and Xavier Becerra use logos, ethos, and pathos to convey their claims. All three focus on claiming their perspective to persuade the people of America about the ways to run the country and what changes should be made.
(Articles and videos of the speech were acquired from The Fresno Bee, USA TODAY, THE NEW YORK TIMES, WhiteHouse.gov, The Washington Post, Vox, CNN politics, and Univision.. The media used were videos, which were incorporated in these news, and an interview from The NEW YORK TIMES.)
During his speech, Trump inclines his argument towards the “American people” and mainly focuses on getting the attention of older people (republicans). In the beginning of his speech, Trump states, “it’s not a Democratic agenda or Republican agenda, but an agenda for the American people” (Trump) and makes it clear that “American interests” come “first.” Abrams’ response to the State of the Union speech, focused more on the lower and middle class people, as well as the minorities. She successfully employs her argument in a persuasive way by using ethos, as she tells her own story.
Abrams recalls a time when her family worked hard and even if they weren’t well economically themselves, they still had the heart to help others in need. Just like Abrams, Becerra also gives a story about his life. Becerra says, “Mis padres empezaron su vida aqui, por la misma razon… para trabajar duro y darle a sus hijos una vida mejor.” He mentions how his parents came to the United Sates in pursuit of the American dream, by giving their children a better life. Becerra’s State of the Union Spanish response, also focused on immigration and on the effects of the government shutdown. Altogether, the three speeches focus on employing or sending their message to young adults as well as older people, but mainly those who are able to vote.
In the State of the Union speech Donald Trump mainly uses logos as a source of evidence. An example can be found when Trump states, “we have created 5.3 million new jobs. ” He also uses pathos in his diction throughout the speech, and this creates a sense of frustration in some of the audience. Trump’s argument can bring both agreement, and disagreement on the audience depending on the person’s beliefs, and position. Another logos example is when trump mentions statistics such as, “5 million Americans have been lifted from food stamps” and “the US economy is growing twice as fast.” Trump tends to focus majorly on statistics to convey his claim, which it’s what Republicans tend to do, and focus on.
He sort of acknowledges the minorities, in a way by saying, “African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.” Here he might be using logos, but also ethos in a way, probably to make people feel included, and not left out. Repletion is also found in Trump’s speech were he tends to constantly repeat the word “Americans.” In Stacey Abrams’ rebuttal speech, she uses ethos as her main source to establish her claim. Abram gives her own experience at the beginning, when she recalls her family experiencing economic problems, and towards the end, when she explains that her father requires expensive treatment for his cancer.
In her argument Abrams tends to contradict Trump in many ways, including the part when Trump states that “companies are coming back to our country” but Abrams states that “rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing..” Examples such as these contradictions, can be used to claim or find a logical fallacy, but all depending on the audience’s perspective. Abrams speaks about the cruel truth of immigration and the unprotection of LGBT people and their rights. She successfully uses emotional appeals throughout her speech.
Similarly, in Xavier Becerra Spanish response, from Univision, he uses ethos as he explains that he comes from immigrant parents, parents who seek for a better future, especially for their children. He mentions how because of their parents’ decision, he graduated school and is now a great politician. Then uses pathos to show a frustration and negativity to today’s world. Becerra describes the conflicts of the United States as “desorden y tension.” Then Becerra uses logos to demonstrate that in 2019 Donald Trump’s obsession in “construir el muro” (build the wall) led to a “cierre de gobierno” (gridlock).
According to Stacey Adams and Xavier Becerra, the government shutdown or gridlock affected many American citizens. In both speeches, Adams and Becerra claim that many hard working Americans, were left without a paycheck, which affected their families. Logos is also used by Becerra, when he states,“4 de cada 10 Americanos cren que este es el peor gobierno que han visto en su vida.” Here Becerra is stating that 4 out of 10 Americans believe that this is the worst government, that they have seen in their entire life. As he makes this claim, he follows by giving his evidence, that people want the lies and arrogance to stop.
Probable rhetorical fallacies were mostly found in Trumps’ speech, one of them was when he was talking about “unity”, mainly unity between the two parties. Trump contradicts himself several times, especially when arguing about the “open boarder.” Kairos comes in play, throughout these three speeches, because it’s the right time to discuss different arguments based on each parties perspective. Voters (audience) can see everyone’s point of view and decide whether to vote democratic or republican on the next elections.
The organization of the three speeches was adequate. Donald Trump, Stacey Abrams, and Xavier Becerra all have a main point and some evidence that follows it. On Abrams’ speech, she tends to have the most organization, making her speech very strong. Trumps’ speech has some organization, but in some places his lack of organization weakens his argument. This is because sometimes his claims tend to collide, and what he said before doesn’t fit to what he claims next. Xavier Becerra also tends to lose focus, but not in a way that it would affect his argument as a whole.
During Trumps’ speech, he tends to use logos in many ways, including the statistics of lower “unemployment” rates, but misses to provide sufficient evidence. By providing insufficient evidence, he weakens his argument and fails to prove his point, because numbers mean nothing without factual evidence. He could of have done a great argument, probably, by using more ethos, rather than pure statistics. Although these three speeches from the State of the Union had the same purpose of providing an argument of what’s good for the country, each were different in their own way.
Donald Trump provided an argument were he acknowledged the opposing perspective, and used a logos appeal for his argument. Stacey Abrams and Xavier Becerra, lacked that acknowledgement, and made ethos their main source of rhetor, in order to successfully employ an emotional appeal to the argument. Both sides, Republican and Democrat tend to contradict each other during these speeches and only the audience (voters) can decide who’s side they are on.