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    Monday
    Jan232012

    Interrupters Aren't People

    The tribal rhetoric gets better and better. Mitt Romney, the inevitable Republican candidate who can’t seem to convince Republicans of his inevitability, uses a strong syncrisis to define “99 percent” protesters. They shouted, “We are the people.” Romney shouted back. 

    No, actually, these are the people. These are the people; you’re the interrupters. We believe in the Constitution. We believe in the right to speech. And you believe in interrupting. Take a hike.

    Mitt Romney in Ormond Beach, Florida, quoted in the L.A. Times 

    syncrisis (SIN-crih-sis), the contraster. From the Greek, meaning “compare with.” Weighs two points side by side with similar clauses: “These are the people; you’re the interrupters.” 

    As Figaro explains in his first book, tribal rhetoric focuses on values and the present—unlike deliberative rhetoric, which deals with the future. The most tribal-tastic tribal rhetoric of them all defines “the people”—that is, who’s in and who’s out of the tribe. Romney supporters are people. People, according to Romney, are a species who believe in the Constitution. Interrupters aren’t people. (Corporations are people, too; they obviously don’t interrupt.)

    But wait, it gets better. The 99 percenters started chanting “USA! USA!” and the People took up the chant. For a moment both the People and the Interrupters chanted their tribal slogan together.

    No one got persuaded, nothing got decided, and soon everybody took a hike.

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