Friday, September 21, 2012

Statement Analysis: Clinton Acceptance Speech 1992

Identifying people in a statement.

"I heard someone knocking at my door.  I saw the person standing there."

Question:  What change in reality took place to turn "someone" into a "person"? 
Answer:    She saw him. 

If she changed him from "someone" to a "person" she cannot downgrade him back to being "someone"; if she does, we will indicate deception.  Later, in this statement, she did not identify him as a man.  The end result was that it was a false rape report.

"I like working with Peter.  He is a good man."  After meeting Heather, this became, "I like working with Peter.  He is a good person."  The change in language, therefore, is justified by the change in reality, that is, meeting Heather.

People in a Statement.

The following is a portion of President Clinton's acceptance speech in 1992 in which he refernces persons.

"Tonight, as plainly as I can, I want to tell you who I am, what I believe and where I want to lead America.
I never met my father.

Father is mentioned first.  He is mentioned in the negative, making the statement in the negative, very important by itself.  Coupled with the priority of mentioning him first, it shows how his father was highly important to him, dominating his life through his absence. 

He was killed in a car wreck on a rainy road three months before I was born, driving home from Chicago to Arkansas to see my mother.

Yet, there are only 32 words dedicated to his father, showing first the impact his death had upon his mother. 

After that, my mother had to support us. So we lived with my grandparents while she went away to Louisiana to study nursing .

Mother is mentioned secondly, with grandparents third.  Grandparents is plural. 

I can still see her clearly tonight through the eyes of a 3-year-old:
Here he describes himself as a "3 year old"

 kneeling at the railroad station and weeping as she put me back on the train to Arkansas with my grandmother. She endured that pain because she knew her sacrifice was the only way she could support me and give me a better life.
Grandmother is mentioned, but not grandfather at this point.  

My mother taught me. She taught me about family and hard work and sacrifice. She held steady through tragedy after tragedy. And she held our family, my brother and I, together through tough times. As a child, I watched her go off to work each day at a time when it wasn't always easy to be a working mother.

Here he references himself as a child, increasing the likelihood of having suffered child abuse, with 80% chance of that abuse being sexual. 

As an adult, I've watched her fight off breast cancer. And again she has taught me a lesson in courage. And always, always she taught me to fight.

That's why I'll fight to create high-paying jobs so that parents can afford to raise their children today. 
He would fight for "high paying" jobs for the purpose of parents raising their children.  

That's why I'm so committed to make sure every American gets the health care that saved my mother's life. And that women's health care gets the same attention as men's. That's why I'll fight to make sure women in this country receive respect and dignity -- whether they work in the home, out of the home, or both. 

Note that as President, he was going to "fight" to  make sure women in this country receive "respect" and "dignity"; whether it is in either "home" or "out" of the home.  

You want to know where I get my fighting spirit? It aIl started with my mother. Thank you, Mother. I love you.

Mother, although mentioned secondly after father, is given a much larger volume of words.  266 words for mother. 

When I think about opportunity for all Americans, I think about my grandfather.

Grandfather is mentioned specifically. 

He ran a country store in our little town of Hope. There were no food stamps back then, so when his customers -- whether they were white or black -- who worked hard and did the best they could came in with no money, well, he gave them food anyway. Just made a note of it. So did I. 

He recalls seeing those hungry being helped by his grandfather.  This may explain the "workfare" legislation he initiated in which food stamps recipients were limited in time and had to submit job applications and to job training.  This was circumvented by President Obama, with the report this week showing that Food Stamp usage doubled since the President dropped the regulations. 

Before I was big enough to see over the counter, I learned from him to look up to people other folks looked down on.
My grandfather just had a high-school education -- a grade-school education. But in that country store he taught me more about equality in the eyes of the Lord than all my professors at Georgetown; more about the intrinsic worth of every individual than all the philosophers at Oxford, more about the need for equal justice under the law than all the jurists at Yale Law School.

Topic introduced:  Education.
Note the change of language from "high school" downgraded to "grade school" while the schools he attended are named, one by one:  "Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale Law School."

If you want to know where I come by the passionate commitment that I have to bringing people together without regard to race, it all started with my grandfather. Building an America That Values Every Family

I learned a lot from another person, too. A person who for more than 20 years has worked hard to help our children. Paying the price of time to make sure our schools don't fail them. Someone who traveled our state for a year. Studying, learning, listening. Going to PTA meetings, school board meetings, town hall meetings. Putting together a package of school reforms recognized around the nation. Doing it all while building a distinguished legal career and being a wonderful loving mother.
That person is my wife.
Hillary taught me. She taught me that all children can learn, and that each of us has a duty to help them do it. So if you want to know why I care so much about our children and our future, it all started with Hillary. I love you."

137 words for Hillary, whom he calls a "person" and "wife."  It is noteworthy that he does not call her a "woman", but a "person", which is gender neutral. His mother received double. 

1.  Order for the sake of priority
2.  Number of words dedicated to each
3.  Words used to identify each

Note that no mention is given to Roger Clinton, the brother who was arrested for cocaine trafficking, and spent a year in prison.  President Clinton issued a Presidential pardon for his brother in 2001. 

Virginia Clinton Kelly,  Bill Clinton's mother, she said that Bill and Hillary lived more like "brother and sister" in their home. 

To this, his language agrees. 


Anonymous said...

That's why soccer moms liked him. He spoke about his childhood with a single mom, talked about his mother and finally gave praise to Hillary.

I don't know if women get anymore respect and dignity though.I don't know if anyone does anymore.

Tania Cadogan said...

Given that clinton is a self confessed liar. these caught my eye.

He was killed in a car wreck on a rainy road three months before I was born, driving home from Chicago to Arkansas to see my mother.
Three is the liars number. It could well be true, i would however listen more closey to what he said

I can still see her clearly tonight through the eyes of a 3-year-old:
Three is the liars number, i woould be paying close attention to what he says looking for patters and inconsistencies.

Just made a note of it. So did I.
Dropped pronoun

That's why I'll fight to create high-paying jobs so that parents can afford to raise their children today.
This is close, that is distancing.
I would expect him to be saying this is... making him close to what he says he wants to do.

That's why I'm so committed to make sure every American gets the health care that saved my mother's life. And that women's health care gets the same attention as men's. That's why I'll fight to make sure women in this country receive respect and dignity -- whether they work in the home, out of the home, or both.
This is close, that is distancing.
I would expect him to be saying this is... making him close to what he says he wants to do.

It is interesting to see he uses mother rather thanmom. I would be asking if this is how he always refers to her and if not why the change in language.
I also found it interesting he refers to hillary as person (gender neutral) as opposed to woman or lady.
Why the distancing from identifying her as a woman?
I am aware there were rumors about her sexuality and also that she like he had had affairs ( one involved someone in her security i believe who died in a suspicious manner.)

MissUnderstood said...

In regards to referring to Hillary as "someone" and "person", I get the feeling that he (or whoever wrote his speech) was trying to create a climax - a BIG surprise. I think it was done for dramatical reasons. The gender was kept a secret until the end; a loving mother - my WIFE! (queue the awwwww's). I know we're not supposed to interpret, idk if I'm actually interpreting. I'd like to see if he referred to her at other times in a gender neutral manner. (Granted, I do understand they've had/have marriage issues, I just think this instance had more to do with his audience and dramatics).

Eliza said...

I thought that, too! They wanted the last name to be a surprise!

Overall, it was a really nice speach!

Tania Cadogan said...

That person is my wife.

Remember tis is close, that is distancing :)

Why does he feel the need to distance himself from all she has done as well as her being his wife?

What i would expect is THIS person is my wife.

THIS would indicate closeness, unity, support.
He would be proud of her and thus he would want to be close to her to share in the reflected glory.

Instead i see distancing, i see jealousy of what she has achieved.
I was not surprised to see hillary seeking political office as it was clear this is what she was aiming for when bill was president.
She was laying the groundwork.

I still think she will run for office next time.
It would not have been seemly for her to stand against against obama as he tried for a 2nd term (though if she had she would likely have won given his record)
A;; smiles in public whilst behind the scenes there will be backstabbing and horsetrading.

Anonymous said...

As far as Hillary:

"Doing it all while building a distinguished legal career and being a wonderful loving mother. That person is my wife."

Wouldn't have made more sense to say: "and being a wonderful loving mother AND WIFE"???

"That person is my wife" sounds like someone saying with contempt, "that person is my mail man".

Sounded like he was trying to make a tribute to Hillary in his speech to go along with all the other tributes made. But he couldn't even get it out with love for her.

rob said...

I do not think this is a love-match between the Clintons, but rather a business deal. I'll stand by you, help you get ahead, you'll do the same for me. We will go down in history as the first (only) husband/wife presidents.
But Bill had that problem with keeping his pants zipped up, not the Hillary cared, but she didn't appreciate the publicity about it. It made her look like a fool. She appeared P.O.ed in public, as any wife would, and they moved on.
His speech was his way of giving her the hand up, the next step in the plan.

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