Burke and Proposal 1
In my discussion class yesterday my class was broken up into groups and was given a two-part assignment. Part one included deciding whether or not Burke would have voted yes or no to proposal one, and how would Burke try to convince Michigan voters to vote. Part two required each group to come up with a skit, or advertisement that Burke would have come up with if he would have been alive today.
Six classmates and myself first decided that Burke would have voted no to proposal one. We came up with this decision based on the fact that Burke was against radical change.
In “Reflections on the Revolution in France” Burke states that, “Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure-but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement…”(521). In just these few sentences we see how Burke really values social contracts, like the constitution and the state constitutions.
After we all agreed that Burke would have voted no to proposal one, we thought of how Burke would have tried to persuade Michigan voters to agree with him. After we examined Burke’s writing style in “Reflection on the Revolution” we found Burke’s writing style to be overly dramatized. For example Burke wrote that, “…the queen was first startled by the sentinel at her door…they were upon him (the king), and he was dead…cruel ruffians and assassins, reeking with his blood, rushed into the chamber of the queen and pierced with a hundred strokes of bayonets and poniards the bed…(the queen) had but just time to fly almost naked…”(515) We concluded that since Burke tried to appeal to people’s emotions rather than trust them to make a smart decision, he had to depend on his way of writing dramatically in order to get people emotionally excited and interested about what he wrote.
Through this rhetorical analysis of Burke, our group decided that we needed to come up with an emotionally intriguing campaign for our skit reflecting Burke’s opinion about proposal one. We were inspired by an analogy written by the president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Joseph G. Lehman reflecting his views on proposal one. His analogy goes as follows, “The problem with Michigan government isn’t so much what’s under the hood, it is what we’re letting the driver get away with. If your teenage driver is irresponsible, no mechanic can change that.”
My group then decided that our skit would play out this analogy of the constitution being the engine, and the driver being the state governor and representatives. We quickly put together a short, and of course dramatic skit, that started with a mechanic checking over a mans car and reporting that it was in extremely good shape. The man then proceeded to give the car to his teenage daughter, who while driving with her friends and not focusing on driving the vehicle, runs over an innocent citizen. Then a member of the group stood up and introduced himself as Burke, and began explaining that rewriting the state constitutions was a radical change, and that tradition and consistency were the true answers to fixing the state of Michigan.
In our skit we effectively showed how Burke was against quick fixes, and how he attracted people by not necessarily showing them a real life example, but an example that is overly dramatized and out of the ordinary in order to attract there emotions, not necessarily their thoughts on the matter.