Barack Obama is unparalleled when it comes to modern rhetoricians. To be honest, I’m usually a sucker for that sort of thing. There are times, however, when his soaring metaphors and lofty phrasing seem rather at odds with the facts on the ground.
Take, for instance, the Boston bomb attacks, the dénouement of which is playing out as I type. Many have lost their lives, and many others have been maimed. The President, perhaps bearing in mind Hurricane Katrina, has responded instantly, appearing to provide a steady stream of support. That is, until you listen to his words.
“Your country is with you,” he said. “We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again. You will run again because that’s what the people of Boston are made of.” Thanks for the thought, Mr President, but some people lost their legs. Others suffered brain injuries. You’re not being incredibly helpful.
He concluded the speech with cringeworthy hyperbole: “Tomorrow the sun will rise over Boston. Tomorrow the sun will rise over this country that we love, this special place, this state of grace.”
Similarly, as the shootout and car chase continues, Obama has issued another statement: “We will keep going, we will finish the race”. Am I the only one to notice that this clunky marathon metaphor seems a little, well, crass?
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