Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kairos and American Politics

When the word rhetoric comes up, we, the American people, always think of a shady politician trying to convince the public about one thing or another. Since we began exploring the topic of rhetoric and how it ties in with our democratic society, it has been hard for me to not separate rhetoric from politics. As the campaign for the 2012 presidential election heats up, I have been watching closely. A great example of a rhetorical device being used is “kairos.” Before reading the chapter about kairos in our Rhetoric and Civic Life book, I had not the slightest clue about what “a kairos” was.
Now that I know what kairos is, I can see it all around me, especially in the political realm. Kairos is used a way to make a point at the most effective moment. For example, when there is  a spree of violence in a city, officials automatically want to tighten controls on weapons and impose stiffer penalties for criminals. In the political realm of the United States today, kairos is used all the time. It is often used at the right rhetorical time to establish a spearhead for a political campaign as well as to gather support for a politician or his or her policies.
Whenever President Barack Obama seems to fail or make a mistake on something such as the economy or universal health care, his opponents are very fast to step up and criticize him and propose their own methods that they claim will work better than what the President did. Democrats and republicans are both guilty when it comes to using kairos to bash their opponents and propose their own ideas. Kairos is extremely commonplace in the political world, you can just turn on the television and watch public figures use it. As race for the Whitehouse heats up, we are most certainly guaranteed to see kairos used to a large extent.


  1. You're absolutely right about politicians looking to take advantage of opportunities to criticize their opponents and promote their own, seemingly more effective, platforms. Especially now, with all of the attention on the Republican primaries, candidates for president are jumping on any chance they have to respond to someone else's slip. They have capitalized on everything from Newt Gingrich's marriage issues, to Mitt Romney's tax returns, to Rick Santorum's past comments. It's amazing how readily people will react to any opportunity that comes their way.

  2. Nice post! I agree that oppponents are very quick to criticize and scruntize President Obama. It will interesting to see how kairos will be used by different candidates from different parties. To what extent kairos will be used remains to be seen, but certainly we'll remained tuned in.

  3. I'm just so sick of politics anymore, (the bashing, the lying, etc) that I hardly care..But you're right, politicians really abuse rhetoric, and especially kairos. But for this class, there are lots of good current events examples for class!