Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Melania Trump and Plagiarism

Donald Trump has run a deliberately disruptive and occasionally amateurish campaign for President. He's gotten as far as he has by breaking or ignoring the normal rules of political decorum. You can't argue with success I guess. But one rule that Trump and his team probably shouldn't ignore is that you use your own words to tell your own story. Doing otherwise goes against a major theme of Trump's campaign: that he's the only candidate who's honest enough to tell it like it is. Trump's wife, Melania Trump, seemed to violate that campaign focus last night when in her speech, which she claimed to have written herself, she used not only the same theme found in a previous speech by First Lady Michelle Obama, but several of the exact same words and phrases. It was something that was pretty obviously lifted from Michelle Obama's speech. Plagiarism is not only dishonest but it's lazy. In this day and age where anyone and everyone can look up what was said previously, plagiarism is also pretty stupid. The whole point of a wife's convention speech (I guess at the Democratic convention it will be the husband's speech) is to humanize the candidate. The spouse theoretically knows the candidate better than anyone else, so he or she can explain to the world exactly why the candidate is the right person for the job. That's it. It's not rocket science. The speech doesn't have to be anything too personal or intimate. And it can't be something where everyone thinks that the spouse had to have his or her arm twisted to say something positive. All it has to be is something in the spouse's words that make everyone feel good about nominating his or her better half to be their Presidential candidate. Unfortunately for the Republicans, the Trump organization couldn't meet that admittedly low bar of competence. Although the plagiarism scandal is not in truth all that important compared to other world events it is humorous to me. As the saying goes,"If I can't trust you with the small stuff, why would I give you greater responsibility?". Why should Americans vote for a candidate who brings in an immigrant wife to steal American speeches? And if Trump's lady is going to steal speeches why would she steal from the Obamas? I thought the Trumps hated the Obamas? 


Since presumably Trump is not going to fire his wife (not yet at least) I would imagine that after a round of blameshifting and denials, someone is going to have to face the axe. Someone in the Trump campaign presumably had the job of ensuring that Melania's speech was grammatically correct, fit in the allotted time slot and wasn't lifted in whole or part from other speeches. Whoever that person was needs to be unemployed today. Trump is trying to sell people on hard work, authenticity and taking the country back from THEM. That's a hard sell when your wife is cut and pasting swaths of Michelle Obama's speeches. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe as one of my cousins sarcastically noted on Facebook, "Word is your bond" is a phrase found as much in Slovenia as on the South Side of Chicago...




Ms. Trump, Monday night:
“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
Mrs. Obama, in her 2008 speech:
“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generationBecause we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
Ms. Trump:
“I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-Communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hard-working mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.
Mrs. Obama, in 2008:
“And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.
 LINK
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