Mary for direct advocacy in which knowledge

Mary Fisher was a
mother living her normal life, taking care of her children and home when she
contracted HIV in an infidel marriage. Some people see her as a hero, not a
hero who defeated a villain or fought in war, but one who fought the everyday
battles in her life. Mary Fisher is a Republican who decided to share her story
of HIV infection to spread awareness of HIV/AIDS to people in the United
States. She believed awareness was the key to finding a cure. Her speech was
given at the Republican National Convention, in Houston, TX, 1992, and may have
been seen as an expostulation of the Republican Governments disregard for the
increasing issue and lack of knowledge.

            The understanding of the audience comes through the
rhetoric used in her speech. Without logos, ethos, or pathos the speech would
just be informative without any meaning to the audience or herself. Through
each of these literal devices, we are able to identify her logic, passions, and
credibility. She calls for an audience–She calls for direct advocacy in which knowledge
will be shared. She does not want pity from the audience or to victimize
herself, but only for attention to the serious matter of HIV/AIDS.

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Mary
Fisher’s logic is very clear– without awareness we cannot move forward in
fighting the battle against AIDS.  We should fight with our words and not
our silence, Mary is defined by her choice to share her story and spread
awareness not by keeping quiet of the matter.  If AIDS is viewed as a
homosexual disease then there is no hope in finding a cure.  Mary’s logic
in her speech calls us “to recognize that AIDS virus is not a political
creature.  It does not care whether you are Democrat or Republican; it
does not ask whether you are black or white, male or female, gay or straight,
young or old.”  This powerful logic helps redefine who the real AIDS’
victims/survivors are; that this virus can happen to anyone.  In the
beginning of her speech, she uses statistics on how millions of
people are infected and how, “two hundred thousand Americans are dead or
dying.”  Logically, one cannot ignore there is a present problem that
needs to be addressed.  The fact that the presidential administration did
not want to address this issue is controversial, but the courage that Mary Fisher
possessed to share her story is very admirable. AIDS is not a
disease trapped only in the poverty burdened countries or in the
realm of gay men. This disease can be anywhere transmitted to anyone. This
disease “is the third leading killer of young adult Americans today,”
infecting mostly women and children.  Mary changed the entire
stereotypical profile in contracting HIV by being a white, married,
heterosexual woman with two small children.

Mary’s
pathos is evident in her startling statistics for example: forty million people
worldwide are dying from AIDS, while two-hundred thousand Americans, “are dead
or dying.”  Mary’s first appeal is fear.
She explains how AIDS, personifying it as a killer, knows where you live and
where you like to hide.  By dramatizing
our fear to speak out, she appeals to guilt. 
Her appeals move the audience to feel responsible for not speaking out
against the prejudices which prevent the cure. 
Our, “bold initiatives, campaign slogans, and hopeful promises” are not
doing anything to promote awareness:  Our
ignorance is killing innocent children and mothers; our ignorance is not saving
lives. She even states, “It is not you who should feel shame.  It is we…” 
We are the ones capable of changing public policy. The people as a whole
should be standing up and changing the ideal that the people who have
contracted AIDS or HIV are at fault.  But, Mary’s pathos does not stop with guilt
and fear.  She goes on to say, “I am one
with a black infant suffering with tubes in a Philadelphia hospital …, I am one
with the lonely gay man sheltering a flickering candle from the cold wind of
his family’s rejection.”  Mary appeals to
sympathy which relates to logic. It is not logical to sit back and not fund for
HIV/AIDS prevention when it directly helps us all. An act of compassion is the
cure and is a ripple which will lead many more to spread awareness and
eventually affect us all.

The
millions who watched on TV and those who saw Mary Fisher speak in person knew
how she had contracted the HIV virus; she contracted it from her second
husband.  Never in the speech did she
blame her husband.  Never in the speech
did she accuse her husband of giving her this disease. Mary Fisher that night
was the epiphany of ethos. Mary Fisher is most definitely an activist and her
ethos is unmistakable: She is a mother, Republican, and fighter of the HIV/AIDS
virus.  She establishes her credibility
by telling her audience in paragraph one, “I want your attention, not your
applause.” This is a solid line that was very outstanding to the audience. She
represents the community, “whose members have been reluctantly drafted from
every segment of American society.” She represents the people who she is fighting
for: her father, mother, children, and friends.   Would the speech have been as powerful if
Mary Fisher did not have HIV?  If Mary
was a healthy woman talking about AIDS the urgency to help would not have been
there.  It would have been another AIDS
topic or informing discussion.  Mary was
the topic, the embodiment, the reflection of the AIDS/HIV community as a whole.

The
saying “Silence is Golden” does not demonstrate itself in the speech given by Mary
Fisher. It establishes the exact opposite; silence on the matter of AIDS/HIV
would only keep people from knowing the truth about the virus. Appealing to the
audience helped to encourage the people to not diminish people who have this
disease and to be supportive of finding a cure.  The emotion, logic, and deep sentiment put
into her speech were distinguished through the use of pathos, ethos, and logos
to reflect the severity and importance to, not only the United States, but on a
world-wide scale.

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