I love a great speech or, rather, great writing and wordsmithing in general. During college, I took a class in “Persuasion: Analyzing Rhetorical Texts” and in it we examined quite a few presidential speeches. I don’t believe the layperson thinks “great public speaker” when you mention Lyndon B. Johnson but man oh man they’d be wrong. LBJ was a master of words and a phenomenal civil rights leader and advocate.
I know President’s Day is technically Washington’s birthday but I’m going to celebrate another president on this day (though props to you too, George!).
So as you enjoy the Federal Holiday I wanted to leave you with this tidbit of fabulous rhetoric and writing:
I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of Democracy. I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in that cause.
At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.... But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself.
LBJ goes on to urge Americans to support civil rights. He stresses the words of our constitution that all men are created equal and that those words truly mean, all people. So as you go about your day today, remember how far we’ve come and also how far we have to go. Pause and recognize the power of words because words can bring actions and actions mean change.
Who are some of your favorite public speakers?