Monday, October 17, 2005

Exercise: Compare & Contrast

Compare and contrast the following statements. Your essay should comment on common rhetorical devices and discuss the difference between perception versus reality in political discourse:
"[T]here's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality." - President George Bush, on hurricane relief in address to the nation, September 15, 2005

"[T]his poverty has roots in generations of segregation and discrimination that closed many doors of opportunity. As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality." - President George Bush, speaking about the poverty revealed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, September 16, 2005

"[I]n a speech from New Orleans on Sept. 15, President Bush had promised the nation 'bold action' to tackle poverty, which, he said, 'has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America.' It's now four weeks later, and that bold action has yet to materialize.

"Instead, cruelly, Congress is talking of moving in the opposite direction, cutting programs for the poor to pay for hurricane relief." - News-Sentinel editorial, Fort Wayne, Texas, September 15, 2005

"Items on the agenda in Washington include the extension of tax cuts on investment income and repealing the estate tax, both aimed at the wealthy. Also proposed are tens of billions of dollars of cuts to services like food stamps, federal student loans and Medicaid, the health insurance for the low-income Americans.

"The president's vow to pay for reconstruction in New Orleans without raising taxes means further services are likely to be cut. Democrats have also attacked the Bush administration for suspending the minimum wage requirement for companies working in the hurricane-hit region. The minimum wage of $5.15 an hour has not in any case been increased since 1997: adjusted for inflation it is at its lowest level since 1956." - David Teather in The Guardian, October 17, 2005

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