Putting the Melania RNC speech kerfuffle in perspective

Putting the Melania RNC speech kerfuffle in perspective

The mainstream media are positively ecstatic this morning over Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last night. It’s not Mrs. Trump’s delivery that has them high-fiving over at the networks, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. It’s the claim that she lifted portions of the speech from the one delivered by Michelle Obama eight years ago at the Democratic National Convention.

“This is plagiarism,” declared CNN’s Jake Tapper. Brian Williams led a panel discussion of the similarities between the speeches over at MSNBC, which is rather fitting when you think about it. Williams is something of an expert on lying, cheating, and stealing.

New York’s Daily News has a side-by-side comparison of excerpts from the speeches, which I’ve reproduced below [emphasis in the original]:

[Melania Trump:] 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; that 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 life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son and we need to pass those lessons to the many generations that follow. Because want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength to your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

[Michelle Obama:] And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond; that 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 to pass them onto the next generation, because 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 hard for them.

It’s next to impossible to write this off as a coincidence. A couple of sentences are lifted almost verbatim, and the overall flavor of the sentiments is strikingly similar.

But when you get down to cases, both speeches and the ideals they embody — hard work, honesty, respect, aiming high —  are hardly novel. They appear in one form or another in virtually ever high school commencement speech ever written.

If the speeches are similar, it’s also in the banalities each captures. No cliché has been left unturned.

Also worth noting is the degree to which Mrs. Obama’s professed values — values that she claims her husband shares — have been made a mockery of over the past eight years. Barack Obama has been notoriously dishonest throughout his two terms as president. When caught in a lie, as he has been tediously often, he doubles down. His respect for others has been limited to approbation for those who agree with his radical-left ideas, while those who don’t have been scorned and ridiculed as “enemies” and worse. As for for hard work and ambition, he has raised to unprecedented heights the numbers of Americans on the government dole.

Don’t get me wrong. Plagiarism is a serious offense and is not to be condoned. But so is morally bankrupting a nation and claiming victory.

Here’s hoping if Donald Trump wins the election in November that he will do better.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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