RS1- Final - Spartas 1 Elizabeth Spartas Professor Bullock...

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Spartas 1 Elizabeth Spartas Professor Bullock English 210 18 October 2010 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies An issue that has been prominent in the news recently is the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. This policy preventing openly homosexual people from serving in the United States military, has been an issue since it was first instituted in 1993 under the Clinton administration (Scarborough). Whether or not the policy follows the foundation upon which the United States was built is a key issue in the debate. Many argue that a country created on the basis of equality should not support a policy which prevents people from serving in the military on the basis of a personal preference, while others assert that the policy is important to ensure that the military maintains proper, working order. Recently there has been a rise in concerns about the issue, as events of persons, such as top of her class West Point cadet Katherine Miller, leaving their position in the military due to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ have come to light (Wetenhall). Although many people do not have personal experience with the policy, methods such as newspaper articles, political cartoons, speeches, and many other rhetorical items have made the problem evident to the public and created public concern. Within this paper three such documents will be analyzed in order to reveal which rhetorical strategies prove most effective. On September 21, 2010 Lady Gaga presented a speech at a rally in Portland, Maine; during her speech the pop star asserted that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be repealed on the basis that it is a prejudiced and unjust policy that does not embody the values of this country. In fact, she went a step further when she pronounced that in place of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ a policy
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Spartas 2 encouraging those who have a problem with homosexuals serving in the military to withdraw should be put in place (Lady Gaga). There is a political cartoon that also supports the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The image presents the argument that the reasons offered in support of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are faulty. The cartoon depicts two soldiers in a bunker, one of them is stating, “I can’t shoot him, he’s gorgeous!” as the caption reads: “Why gays shouldn’t be allowed in the military. Hysterical right wing reason # 373” (“He’s Gorgeous!”). A November 2, 2009 Washington Times article entitled “Marine leads ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Fight” presents a different view on the matter. Although this article is expository for the most part, the strongest argument is in favor of continuing the policy appears within it, that of the threat openly homosexual service members pose to the cohesion of the unit and the thought that now is not the right time to change the policy, as the military is under stress already (Scarborough). Through analysis of the rhetorical strategies used within each of these samples it becomes clear that pathos is at the heart of the appeals, as the policy is presented as a primarily moral issue.
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