In the political world, language is key in influencing the ideas and support from the people. Language has been the tool that political leaders have been using for ages to harness their ideas with the ideas of the people that they lead. Over forty years ago, renowned political analyst Edelman Murray observed that, when political speeches and impressions capture the emotions of the followers, those followers get distracted from critically analyzing what the politician is saying, but get carried away and influenced by whatever the politician is saying. Arguably, President Obama is one politician who has fully fitted in Murray’s explanation. His powerful speeches go very well with his voters. For instance, his second term inauguration speech ,where he was making an appeal by requesting the citizens of America to be fair and treat everyone equally. “We the people of America has today declared that the most evident of truths, that all of us have been created equallyour journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law” he emotionally said in his speech. Obama said this words in a bid to win the support of the Democrats, Republicans and the Independents. In this paper, I will analyze Obama’s leadership strategies in regard to Edelman Murray ideas in his book The symbolic uses of politics.
Obama, just like Murray explains, won the heart of the people through his great oratory skills. He evokes the feelings of the Americans by how he appears caring and considerate to the gay communities of which he believes that they also should be given their democratic right the constitution offers them. Through courageously supporting the gay rights, Obama gained the favor of most of the voters unlike mitt Romney who was totally against gay rights. In his campaigns, Governor Mitt Romney consistently alluded that the US president was among the people who instilled false and unrealistic hopes in the people of America. In a retaliation speech, Obama dismissed Romney’s comments claiming that everybody in US is guarded by the constitution and should not be discriminated because of gender, race or their marital preferences.
Through his great oratory skills, Obama falls in line with Murray Edelman’s observation’s that language is able to establish a person who is an enemy or an ally of the public. The use of negative language against an opponent is a way that depicts inequalities in resources, power and status. Therefore, the people whom negative language is directed to may end up gaining sympathy from the onlookers and the neutral supporters(Edelman 76).
Although president Barrack Obama may have never read “The symbolic uses of politics” he substantiates a lot of the observations made by the author in his political leadership. Everyone thinks that Obama is a great speaker and that is why he has managed to stay in power over the years. This assertion is correct to some extent but I also think that he is a person who believes that it is through language that a leader can relate and appeal to the people. Politicians therefore gains or can lose power or influence towards their followers by the way they use language as Murray explains. It is through the ideas that Murray suggest on the use of language by a politician that can be used to explain the reason why Obama is gaining power and influence with every speech that he makes.
Bandow,Dong.”Obama’s SOTU: A campaign speech that erodes the power of the
Edelman,Murray.The symbolic uses of politics.University of Illinois Press.1985