I finally feel a connection to rhetoric. This whole time I’ve been thinking that my perceptions of rhetoric are different than others. While many have a negative view of it, I’ve been struggling to find the positive parts and highlight them because I believed there was something more to it. Now I finally know what that is. Traditional rhetoric has a patriarchal bias, and invitational rhetoric, as discussed in Beyond Persuasion: A proposal for an Invitational Rhetoric, paints a much clearer picture of what rhetoric means to me.
            All my opinions about rhetoric thus forth have somehow been entwined with invitational rhetoric. As I spoke of rhetoric being a persuasive art, I considered the idea that we can persuade without having the persuaded be a submissive. I stressed the importance of each individual having our own unique thoughts and choosing what to believe in. When I spoke of rhetoric and democracy, I saw the importance of having others listen to and accept our ideas as natural and necessary to creating the world we live in. I took the negative connotations associated with democracy and directed them towards society instead, blaming people for their views of seeming themselves as superior and thinking they have the right to be dominant over others. I explained how attacking others rarely helps in getting your point across and that one must learn to speak effectively, in terms of rhetoric.  My idea of what I believe to be effective speaking and rhetoric has been there this whole time. However, I had mistakenly associated it too much with traditional rhetoric, because it had been all I had known.  Foss and Griffen have opened up my mind and I realize that the rhetoric I’ve been struggling to bring out in traditional rhetoric is actually grounded in invitational rhetoric.
            Invitational rhetoric is the idea of rhetoric as an invitation to understanding both an issue and the participants to create a relationship between an audience and rhetor based on equality, immanent value and self-determination. By allowing both rhetor and audience to contribute to the thinking of the issue, a sense of appreciation, safety, value and freedom is created. I believe that if more people saw rhetoric in the way described by invitational rhetoric, the world would be full of better communicators, and through the power of mutual understanding we could achieve more possibilities and create an environment we never thought possible before.
             

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