Tuesday, October 05, 2004

do dick cheney and john edwards know where their audiences are?
in the presidential debate, george bush did. he knew where the camera was, he made eye contact with his audience, he spoke to the american people--he used "you" and primarily "we" language. In a debate that most agree Bush lost, this was his greatest strength. John Kerry talked to the Jim the moderator for 87 minutes, referring to his audience, the american people, frequently, as "they." His closing statement, he found the camera, found the audience, talked to us, and it was golden. Beautiful. It made such an impact, and sealed the forceful and compelling arguments he had been presenting for the entire debate.
Now, in the VP debates, I can't look either candidate in the eye. They are both referring to me in the third person...why arent they talking to their audience? Is it the table? The compelling gaze of the moderator? Are the cameras hidden?
Candidates should talk to us, not some abstract and removed "The American People"--how are they empowering each of us to be involved in the political process, to feel like this democracy has deep roots in the needs and wills of its citizens?
This may seem like a minor rhetorical point, but its roots are deep.


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