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A Death Toll Fails to Narrow a Chasm on Gay Rights
The New York Times

June 16, 2016

WASHINGTON — For a fleeting moment this week, it seemed as if the massacre in Orlando, Fla., was having the unlikely and unintended impact of helping to bridge the chasm between Republicans and many in the gay community. Mitt Romney offered ”a special prayer for the L.G.B.T. community” after he learned of the attack. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida granted an interview to The Advocate, the gay news magazine, and expressed outrage at the Islamic State’s persecution of gays. And Donald J. Trump repeatedly expressed solidarity with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, declaring, ”I will fight for you” — an unprecedented show of support from a presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

But the deep divide over gay rights remains one of the most contentious in American politics. And the murder of 49 people in an Orlando gay club has, in many cases, only exacerbated the anger from Democrats and supporters of gay causes, who are insisting that no amount of warm words or reassuring Twitter posts change the fact that Republicans continue to pursue policies that would limit legal protections for gays and lesbians. In the weeks leading up to the killings, they pointed out, issues involving gays were boiling over in Congress and in Republican-controlled states around the country. More than 150 pieces of legislation were pending in state legislatures that would restrict rights or legal protections for sexual minorities. A Republican congressman read his colleagues a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays. Congress was considering a bill that would allow individuals and businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples.

North Carolina is facing a harsh backlash because of a law curtailing antidiscrimination protections for gays and requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates. Mississippi’s governor signed a similar bill. Gays have surpassed Jews as the minority group most often targeted in hate crimes, according to the F.B.I. The agitated reactions are just some of the ways identity politics have overtaken the tragedy in Orlando, with its combustible mix of issues that have long divided Americans: guns, gays, God and immigration. ”If one more Republican tells me they have gay friends, I’m gonna scream,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York and one of just a few openly gay, lesbian or bisexual members of Congress. ”I don’t care that they have gay friends. I care that they’re voting against equality.”

The massacre, with stunning speed, has been transformed into a political wedge, beginning with fierce disagreements over just what the crime should be called. An attack by ”radical Islamic terrorists,” as Republicans insisted? A hate crime in a place seen as a safe haven by gays, as many Democrats said? Politics have taken over in Washington and with particular force in Florida, where gay rights divisions are surfacing, Democrats are calling for gun controls in one of the most ardently pro-gun states, and Mr. Rubio, citing the events in Orlando, said he was reconsidering his decision not to seek re-election for his Senate seat.

One of the most bitter manifestations of the lingering animus happened in the shadow of the massacre scene itself when CNN’s Anderson Cooper berated Florida’s Republican attorney general, Pam Bondi, for speaking so affectionately about the dead while also being an unflinching opponent of efforts in her state to legalize same-sex marriage. ”Do you really think you are a champion of the gay community?” he asked her in an interview on Tuesday. Ms. Bondi, who appeared rattled and caught off guard, accused Mr. Cooper on Wednesday of ”creating more anger and havoc and hatred.”

Amid the political sniping, a profound sense of fatigue was building — a familiar coda to many mass shootings. ”I’m not doing any of the political stuff,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando, a Democrat who has been praised for his handling of the crisis. ”It’s sad that on the national level they can’t just focus on what they really need to focus on.”

Because the killings have ignited debates on so many sensitive topics, there are many different opinions about what the focus should be. Democratic state lawmakers in Florida, led by State Senator Darren Soto, who is running for Congress, called for a special session on gun control here, a hard sell in a place known as the ”Gunshine State.” They also proposed a bill in the State Legislature that would ban people on the terrorist watch list or the no-fly list from buying guns, similar to efforts by Democrats in Washington.

But this week Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, stressed that it was radical Islam that needed to be controlled, not guns. ”The Second Amendment didn’t kill anybody,” Mr. Scott said. ”Evil, radical Islam, ISIS — they killed.” Republicans and Democrats could not even agree on how to describe the attack. Mr. Scott was criticized for failing to mention, in numerous public appearances and interviews, that the victims were apparently targeted for their sexual identities. (He finally did on Wednesday, offering that the Orlando incident was ”a clear attack on the gay and Hispanic community.”) Representative Pete Sessions of Texas told a reporter on Tuesday that Pulse, where the attack occurred, ”was a young person’s club,” not a gay club. His office later said he misunderstood. The speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan, made no mention of gays in his initial statement. No did the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who did note that the Islamic State beheaded women and crucified children.

Representative Rick W. Allen of Georgia, the Republican who last month read the Romans verse that says of homosexuals ”they which commit such things are worthy of death” as the House was about to vote on a gay rights amendment, has not apologized. His spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. ”We aren’t demanding that Republican lawmakers genuflect at the altar of the almighty gay agenda,” said Kirk Fordham, a former senior Republican aide on Capitol Hill who has worked on gay rights causes. ”Just acknowledge the discrimination and violence directed at us as a group. And sadly some Republican lawmakers think that is nonexistent or wildly exaggerated.”

In Florida, activists noted that the state was still a place where gay and lesbian people could ”get married on a Friday and fired on a Monday” because of inadequate nondiscrimination laws, in the words of Mallory Garner-Wells, the public policy director for Equality Florida. ”We’ve been trying to convey to people there’s still a lot of work to do,” she added. ”Maybe this will be a wake-up call.”

You’re job is to give a rhetorical l article peer- review analysis of the article!!

Think: Here are some questions to think about when offering your peer review on the article. Think of ethos, pathos, and logos while writing this article.

  • Does the introduction include the SOAPSTone of the article? Please search what SOAPs means
  • Does the essay include a clear, specific thesis statement? Does the thesis make a clear analytical claim about the rhetoric and argumentation strategies of the article? Does the thesis clearly show what elements of the article the writer will analyze?
  • Does the essay include topic sentences and transitions to organize the body paragraphs? Do the topic sentences state specific points of analysis or analytical claims?
  • Which rhetorical appeals, argumentation strategies, or specific language/visual choices are identified and evaluated? Does the essay analyze the author’s tone, diction, word choices, evidence, and/or appeals?
  • Does the essay develop specific evidence for the ideas? Does the essay quote specific words and phrases from the article that support the claims and analyses?
  • Does the essay stay focused on the article’s argumentation and NOT the content or summary of the topic? In other words, is the essay about how the article works, rather than what the article says?
  • Does the essay include in-text citations, correctly formatted in MLA Style, for each quotation and paraphrase?
  • Does the essay include a conclusion paragraph that synthesizes the main points and offers closure?
  • Write: Write your rhetorical analysis essay.
    • Introduction: Your introduction should give a short, objective summary of the article. You should explain your analysis of the article’s rhetorical situation (SOAPSTone) in your summary. Your introduction should end with your analytical thesis. Your thesis should make a clear analytical claim about the rhetoric and argumentation strategies of the articles; show clearly what elements of the articles you will analyze; and convey the overall judgment of the article’s effectiveness.
    • Body Paragraphs: In the body of your essay, offer specific claims about the argumentation strategies the author uses in the article. Identify and evaluate rhetorical appeals, argumentation strategies, or specific language choices the author makes. Analyze the author’s tone, diction, word choices, evidence, and/or appeals. Consider how the author uses ethos, pathos, and logos in the argument. What other argument and rhetorical strategies do you see at work? Are they effective? Why? How? What tone has the author set, and how does the author establish that tone? Is it effective and appropriate? Look carefully at language choices and rhetoric. Give specific evidence from the article to support your claims. When you discuss diction or tone, quote phrases that support your assessment. When you discuss appeals, paraphrase the arguments that you believe illustrate those appeals at work in the argument. Be specific!
    • Conclusion: Conclude with your overall assessment of the effectiveness of this article’s argument based on the article’s intended audience and purpose.






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