The power of words in crisis: Who hits mark, and who misses?
Jan 12, 2021 1 min, 35 secs
WASHINGTON (AP) — In moments of crisis, of war and terror, of loss and mourning, American leaders have sought to utter words to match the moment in hope that the power of oratory can bring order to chaos and despair.

“I really think there is something at the very core of our humanity that only words can satisfy,” said Wayne Fields, author of “Union of Words: A History of Presidential Eloquence,” and a professor at Washington University in St.

This came well after the man voters chose to succeed him, President-elect Joe Biden, had summoned outrage, empathy and a sense of a path forward.

The oratory of crisis typically consists of either a formal statement or an extemporaneous speech.

But his appearance in the rubble of the World Trade Center bombing was considered one of his finest moments, in which he found just the right words when speaking to rescue workers who said, “I can’t hear you.”!

Unlike Trump, Biden was unsparing in his remarks after the insurrection at the Capitol about where blame lay.

“They weren’t protesters,” Biden said.

But Biden also promised a better day ahead, saying that the rioters did not represent the “true America.”.

The most memorable words from Trump’s inaugural address were about the need to end an “American carnage” that existed mostly in his own mind.

He has a mixed history with oratory.

But Biden even then, in 1987, was also known for his ability to use words, albeit sometimes too many of them.

The challenge for crisis oratory is to not underplay the severity of the problem or foster a new sense of panic.

Words can explain, inspire, console, and heal

“This impeachment is causing tremendous anger, as you’re doing it, and it’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing,” Trump said

I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger

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