Part III – Obama’s Inaugural Spice: MEANINGFUL METAPHORS

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

This is the 3rd in a Series of 5 posts
on Rhetorical Tips and Techniques
that President Obama could have used
to make his Second Inaugural Address
more memorable.
Boldface indicates
a departure from the original script.

                  Milestones1  Metaphors, strategically placed in the middle of the speech, can help listeners more easily follow the train of thought.  Here’s how President Obama could have spiced up his metaphor of a “journey” and added greater memorability to the middle of his speech. (The following text picks up where we concluded in the second post in this series.)

 Meaningful Milestones


Together let’s continue that march for freedom–Beyond the Milestone of Equality in Pay,
Together let’s continue that march for freedom –Beyond the Milestone of Equality in Love
Together let’s continue that march for freedom –Beyond the Milestone of Equality in the Right to Vote

           Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,  for if we are truly created equal,    then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
           Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to make his or her voice heard on election night.

     a road            

Seizing Opportunity Together

Together we must journey on the road to growth and prosperity, beyond the Milestone of  Comprehensive Immigration.

      Obama in crowd    Indeed , our  journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity and until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country .
And together we seize that Milestone in Comprehensive Immigration.

        Together, we must journey on the road to growth and prosperity, beyond the Milestone of Safety and Security. 

           Indeed, our journey is not complete until all our children– from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown– know they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm and together we seize that Milestone of Safety and Security.

    Notice how the following paragraphs
link back to the milestone
to further the key message

         Planet Earth 1With those Milestones fully in our collective minds and dedication in our collective hearts, America will continue to be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice not out of mere charity but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice. At home and around the world.

         Use key transitions like “at home and around the world”
to link key concepts globally.
Then use  repetitive sentence structure
to link  to global aspirations.

             In seizing opportunity together, America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. 

            We will endeavor to resolve our differences with other nations peacefully  –not because we are naive about the dangers we face but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.

            We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law, knowing very well that an enduring security and lasting peace do not require a perpetual war.

Responding to Climate Change

            In seizing opportunity together, we support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East because or interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.

             Tie a thematic thread more firmly around
the commitment to climate change like this.

        We will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. Or in a Greener World.  

       After all, we the people still believe that our obligations are not just to ourselves but to all posterity. That’s why America will continue to respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that this failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgement of science but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.

        The path toward sustainable energy source will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries; we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

 TOMORROW:  Part IV  Creating a Crescendo Close

Previous Posts in this Series 1. General Critique  2. Beginning With a Bang

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