The George Bush speech in Prague
I'd cheerfully take a job as usher in that auditorium just to be in the same room with men like these.
So what's the speech like?
In classical rhetoric, the five parts of an oration are:
Invention (Latin, inventio; Greek, heuresis)
Arrangement (L. dispositio, G. taxis)
Style (L. elocutio, G. lexis)
Memory (L. memoria, G. mneme)
Delivery (L. actio, G. hypocrisis)
George Bush's speech writer should be proud. The type of speech is epidectic or panegyric - to praise or blame. This is a speech in praise of freedom, and of the men present, and of those who fell along the way to freedom. In terms of invention, arrangement and style, it's a great speech.
One unintentional irony in the speech is that Bush used the term "democratic ideals". In Europe he could have said "liberal" ideals and been understood perfectly by all. In America it is the so-called* liberals who will either militantly ignore the sentiments of the day, or consciously belittle them.
Memory is probably not so relevant in this age of teleprompters, but what the heck, points awarded for smooth reading without noticeable breaks in continuity.
In future years, I think people will probably read this speech with inspiration. Unfortunately, this is an age of audiovisual recording media - and the Delivery is pretty bad. Bush horribly mangles the pronunciation of several Slavic names and though he does seem to have improved his delivery somewhat during his terms of office, it is still awkward and often painful to listen to.
Bush is often derided as simple and stupid. But - though his pronouncements are often cringe-making, he does seem to see what quite a lot of clever and sophisticated people do not seem to: that between free peoples and the masters of unfree states, there can be no permanent peace.
This is always an alarming message to those of us who live in rich, free and comfortable countries, not one we really want to hear. A leader who aspires to tell unpleasant truths to the people must necessarily be articulate - which Bush isn't.**
* "I am a liberal - it's those other people who aren't liberals." G.K. Chesterton
** Consider, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." If you want to tell that to the electorate, you'd better be articulate.