by Tom Henihan
The issue of plagiarism regarding Melania Trump’s speech was more amusing than serious, especially considering that virtually everyone in the political arena is scripted. The entire enterprise is a fiction, a staged fabrication; only when there is a blunder and someone goes off-script does the matter appear authentic.
The noise created by Ms. Trump’s Republican Party Convention speech was absurd even though it blatantly stole passages from a speech Michelle Obama gave on a similar occasion back in 2008. Even eight years ago, the scripted platitudes expressed by Michelle Obama were hardly original.
Of greater interest is the unscripted stupidity of the Trump organization in allowing something that easy to catch to get past them. It is easier to understand how the passages from Michelle Obama’s speech got by Melania Trump herself, as I suspect Ms. Trump had faint interest in American politics in 2008.
Although America has been great for Melania since she became a permanent US resident in 2001, and especially great since she married a billionaire in 2005, it is hard to fathom what she is thinking when she utters the phrase “make America great again.” To what part of her limited experience as a US citizen is she drawing upon; what is that nostalgic wish she has for a great America?
Of course, Trump supporters, motivated by fear and distrust on the one hand, and blind faith on the other, having put placed that faith in “The Donald” will not have it tested or challenged. Trump cannot transgress no matter what he or those around him say, his supporters will not hear of it.
Who cares about a minor faux pas such as Trump’s wife plagiarizing a speech given by the wife of a president they despise. Such things can be implausibly justified or simply ignored. The additional irony of the wife of a presidential candidate running on an anti-immigrant platform reading plagiarized lines in a heavy, foreign accent is lost on Trump supporters. Typically, of course, those who subscribe to absolutism are impervious to irony.
They have bought in, they are enjoying the momentum and there is no room for second thoughts. They do not want to wake from the fever; they feel liberated by the delirium.
And they may not have to wake, their hallucinations might be made manifest because on the other side of the divide is Hilary Clinton who headed into the Democratic National Convention embroiled, once again, in another email scandal about rigging the system within her own party to defeat her opponent Bernie Sanders.
Hilary Clinton personifies corruption and ruthless personal ambition. She wants to be the first woman president of the US and she will to do anything to achieve that end. She covets that moment in American history for herself, not to raise the bar for women in general or for any other altruistic reason.
Melania Trump reading a plagiarized speech in an environment that is already completely artificial seems venial compared to Hilary Clinton having the Democratic Party tilt the system in her favour.
Like Trump, a considerable number of people in her own party despise Hilary Clinton. Unlike Trump, those who support Clinton do so without any great enthusiasm.