Restoring trust at TCSO: A Rhetorical Criticism

sherrifs badge     Independent periodical, The Tulsa Voice, published Marq Lewis’ article “Restoring trust at TCSO- What should we look for in a sheriff?”(read the full article here:  http://www.thetulsavoice.com/February-B-2016/Restoring-trust-at-TCSO/), where he asserts that new leadership is needed within the Tulsa county’s sheriff’s office while arguing against the recent sheriff and his actions while in office. With a lead-in editor’s note, Lewis supports his argument with the fact that the previous sheriff, Stanley Glanz, was indicted by a grand jury and removed from office for scandalous behavior, lending to Lewis’ argument against Glanz’s activities while in office allowing him to present ideas of reformation contrasting the status quo ante. His purpose is to present, to the citizens of the county, the illegal and inadequate operational activity surrounding the sheriff’s office and administration of the jail and introduce his co-authored five-point plan which he desires to implement in cooperation with the incoming sheriff. Marq Lewis offers a passionate plea to his fellow voters asking for their support reforming the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and to elect a sheriff devoted to correcting the failures of the past.  

“As founder of citizen activist group We The People Oklahoma, Marq Lewis helped draw the public’s attention to the scandal and initiated the grand jury petition that ultimately led to Sheriff Stanley Glanz’s indictment and ouster.” (The Tulsa Voice) Marq Lewis leads into his article with a compelling statement provided by the editor of The Tulsa Voice, this lends credibility to the argument he forms in order to inform his audience of the current state of affairs within the sheriff’s office of Tulsa County. This lends to his overall position of authority regarding the circumstance which he is discussing. Having the editor inform the audience about who he is and what part he has played is a logical and functional approach.

“The new sheriff of the TCSO needs to be an individual of integrity, an effective leader,” (Lewis). Mr. Lewis bases his argument on a statement which cannot be argued against. How can any logical person argue against this declaration? He states very plainly what characteristics are important in an individual who holds such a high position within this particular government office. He uses a rational statement to bring readers on his side. Here he has placed himself, figuratively, at the same table as his audience. Presenting himself as the voice of reason.

“The recent scandals in the TCSO show that a leader can either make or break an organization.” (Lewis) Allowing his audience the opportunity to learn about events which have occurred recently regarding the office of sheriff for Tulsa county Lewis outlines the types of activities which have occurred. Marq Lewis presents several transgressions which have been made public, thus informing his audience of charges which have been made and presenting the tasks which are ahead to revert the office to its formal moral and legal standing. He convincingly argues his point through this topical outline. “A sheriff must show the highest standards of integrity and must hold him or herself accountable not only to the office but to the public he or she serves.” (Lewis) Throughout his article, he holds fast to a common-sense stance supporting the moral standards which the sheriff should be held to. He supports his position by stating logical facts throughout his article, successfully reminding his audience of what he has already presented of which he and the audience hold in agreement. This is an operative method of reminding his audience that they are in agreement with his position.

“Recently, the TCSO has suffered a major blow to its credibility, honesty, accountability, morale, and pride because of leadership—or the lack thereof.” (Lewis) Marq Lewis reminds his audience throughout his discussion of what has occurred within the sheriff’s office. He desires to remind his addressees of what problems have occurred, building support for his position, thus effectively opposing the former sheriff and his actions within the office. This builds a platform, a foundation if you will, to present himself as favorable to his audience, building a rapport with the readers, thus saying that they can trust him and should be open to his presentation. He effectually presents his position with a constant back and forth of “this has happened” and “this is what we need to happen” type of presentation. I find this to be an effective method of pulling his audience along with him. He is building his audience up for a proposal which he is soon to present.

“What kind of leader do you want in the sheriff’s office?” (Lewis) Before Lewis presents his proposal he asks his audience what it is they believe. He does not really ask the question, the answer is self-evident, or so it may seem. He presents what he lines out as the type of sheriff which needs to hold this office. He establishes this in a logical sense which the reader has no real choice but to agree with him. To disagree would be ludicrous, this he is fully aware of. He does not really provide his audience the opportunity to answer this question, logically answering the question for them brings him and his reader closer together with their shared understanding and desired characteristics of the new sheriff. I believe he has effectively led his readers to believe they have had a choice when in reality they can only agree with him.

Marq Lewis has led his audience along a path which the reader has no choice if they adhere to reason, but to agree with his position. He has set himself up to be the voice of reason and has shown his ability to help make things happen when it comes to dealing with corrupt individuals regarding the government, specifically the sheriff’s office. He has led his audience, like a horse to water, drawing them nearer to himself and further away from the previous sheriff, where he has indicted those who have been a part of the political system involved with the sheriff, including his close contacts and social group. He effectively places all of his cohorts in a state of suspicion. Marq Lewis brings charges against the sheriff, his associates, and their activities, leading the reader to question the ability of anyone who may have been connected to Sheriff Stanley Glanz to perform or to be trusted with this position. His readers are placed in a state of confusion, questioning their ability to nominate and elect a new sheriff to fill the vacancy which now exists. This becomes of little concern as Mr. Lewis provides us with this; “We The People Oklahoma presented the TCSO with a five-point plan to be used that can improve the relationship between the TCSO and the citizens of the county.” How convenient. Just as the reader has been wondering just who will save them from this cruel world and the evil sheriff a savior has presented himself. Mr. Lewis has effectively argued his position in a way which has made him an authority regarding the sheriff’s office concerning how it should and should not be operated. He has demonstrated his willingness and ability to strike out the illicit activity which may occur if not closely guarded against. He then presents his solution, a solution which he has inferred has backing, “The meetings we had with former acting sheriff Rick Weigel were informative and encouraging. These meetings need to continue with the new sheriff and action must be taken to adopt the five-point plan.” While close scrutiny to his statement would make his statement less effective it would not diminish his authority altogether. He has effectively presented himself, his position and his argument to the readers of The Tulsa Voice.

 

Work Cited

Lewis, Marq, Restoring trust at TCSO, What should we look for in a sheriff? February 2016 The Tulsa Voice periodical < http://www.thetulsavoice.com/February-B-2016/Restoring-trust-at-TCSO/>

 

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