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A Message from RSA's President

The Rhetoric Society of America supports the study and teaching of rhetoric toward the end of advancing constructive communication among people who sustain their societies through discussion, debate, and well-reasoned argument rather than violence.

Recent statements by President Trump about the events in Charlottesville suggest the claim that the hateful ideology of white supremacy and this nation’s founding principle that all people are “created equal” and share “certain inalienable rights” are acceptable differences of opinion in America. The White-Nationalist, Alt-right, KKK, and Neo-Nazi groups that assembled in Charlottesville espouse an ideology that has caused some of the worst atrocities of US and international history. Those who defend them use language in ways that Wayne Booth would recognize as “rhetrickery” – essentially, verbal violence in the guise of civic rhetoric that is a direct violation of democratic values and practices.  

We call upon citizens, press, and political leaders of the United States and beyond to reject public statements that would normalize this ideology and to work together in language and in law toward a just society sustained by a public discourse that proceeds upon principles of honesty and respect for all people who adhere to those same principles. 

Gregory Clark, President
Rhetoric Society of America

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