Your Guts Are Your Best Rhetoric
Prepare your tissues before reading this article.
Former Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords (D-Ariz.) gave the opening testimony last Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence. It was a speech like no other.
On January 8, 2011, Gabby Giffords was victim of an assassination attempt in Tucson: She was shot in the head and still suffers significant neurological sequelae. Six people were killed and thirteen wounded in the shooting.
Last Wednesday, she could only pronounce, with great difficulty, 72 words. Her speech was very simple; it did not include any elaborate rhetoric or hyperbole. Still, it was more eloquent and memorable than the most brilliant, intellectually supple speeches.
Indeed, Gabby Giffords’ speech had the ultimate quality in communication: Emotional power. By sharing her experience and conviction, Gabby Giffords put her guts on the table and touched us – whether or not we agree with her. Her face was radiating with inner light and resolve which were worth any rhetorical brilliance. I cannot watch her speech without shivering.
When you want to convince an audience, your guts are far more important than your rhetoric. As Abraham Lincoln said, “in order to win a man to your cause, you must first reach his heart, the great high road to his reason.”