Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chain Letter

There has been a lot of reaction in the blogosphere to the letter about the Iraq war, "After Pat's Birthday," which was written by Kevin Tillman, brother of football star Pat Tillman, who was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan. The letter uses the occasion of his brother's upcoming birthday to encourage Americans to vote out those who support the war.

As a rhetorician, I find it interesting to see how the letter uses the refrain of "somehow" to build oratorical momentum. It is interesting that many republications of the letter on the Web only print the "somehow" sections.

Here is a sample:

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

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