First off, Obama addresses many goals that he hopes to achieve, but whether somebody agrees with these goals or not, they are going to be difficult to reach, especially since Congress is controlled by Republicans in both the House and the Senate. For example, the chances of raising the minimum wage are slim, because it is something the Democrats want and the Republicans do not. Also, hearing someone say they are going to “raise minimum wages” makes more people agree with his goals because most people would get excited about being paid more. However, it can also be looked at like this- by raising minimum wages, some smaller businesses may not be able to afford to pay higher wages, therefore, more people could be laid off from the lack of affordability. This is why it is important to look at Obama’s or any politician’s “improvements” from both sides because someone can talk about the future all day long but the hardest part is not necessarily coming up with the ideas but putting them into action.
In order for Obama to get his audience to agree with his goals, he uses rhetorical techniques that provides his audience with hope for the future. Indeed, he does. The first time I listened to the address, I noticed how often he said the words “we” and “family.” He is trying to get more people to believe that everybody is part of the American family and that he will protect us since we are a “unified, independent nation.” He even includes the story of Rebekah and Ben Erler’s hardships to connect their struggles with America’s and prove that, just like the Erlers, we can overcome them. This is a common rhetorical technique to use. By saying these words repeatedly, everyone feels included, no matter what party. However, as factual and encouraging as Obama’s speech was, he covers all the progress in our country well but fails to address the problems we are currently facing. When he did address any problems it was because he had a solution and nobody needed to “worry.” To me, however, it seemed as if he was describing the nation he wanted us to be instead of the nation we are.