Bearing Witness

by Billy Shore

A harsh critique of leaders who won’t use their post powerful tool: rhetorical suasion

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


In this week’s New Yorker, staff writer George Packer, who is increasingly becoming that rare journalistic voice for the voiceless, has an excellent commentary juxtaposing the President’s focus on the deficit and debt ceiling, with the lack of any initiative around jobs for the now nearly one in six Americans who are out of work. @

Packer writes: “President Obama, responsibly acceding to the reality of divided government, is now the leading champion of fiscal austerity, and his proposals contain very little in the way of job creation. More important, he no longer uses his office’s most powerful tool, rhetorical suasion, to keep the county focused on the continued need for government activism…. What does either side have to offer the tens of millions of Americans who have settled into a semi-permanent state of economic depression? Virtually nothing.”

It’s a harsh critique, but not as harsh as life for those who have been unemployed so long that they’ve stopped looking for work, or for those navigating unemployment for the first time in their lives. Even a few words acknowledging their plight – let alone “rhetorical suasion” – could go a long way.