I’ve just finished reading the controversial speech Melania Trump gave last night at the GOP Convention in Cleveland.
Was it a great speech?
No – but it seems to be a strong and reasonably well-crafted dose of the heartfelt, personal, fairly standard and unsurprising “Potential First Lady” fare you’d expect in this context.
What troubles me is the vehemence of the attacks against Melania for what appears to be plagiarism in two lines of her speech.
Yes, it may well be true that this is what happened. And, frankly, a good speech writing staff (which I’m sure is available to Trump and his family, if they want it) would have bent over backwards to avoid intentionally plagiarizing anyone, and then vetted the speech to ensure against unintentional plagiarism as well.
Melania is clearly not stupid; and she has already seen (almost constantly, for months, if not years) how quickly the attack dogs on either side can dig out unpleasant facts and correlations with past material to refute and/or undermine whatever you say. So, she must have known that plagiarism would be spotted very quickly. Her mistake may well have been an unvoiced assumption that unintentional plagiarism would not happen to her.
Frankly, I expect better of us, not just from our nation as a whole, but especially from those of us who march under the banner of “Liberal.” We constantly lift ourselves up as being inclusionary and tolerant; but also complain (rightly) of the unfairness and bias of Conservative Republican attacks against us. Do such attacks justify our doing the same against them? That is precisely what is happening here.
I think it better to thank Melania for her speech, note that plagiarism may have occurred, but then move on – making sure to thank her and the Trump Campaign for sharing such important values with Michelle Obama (and by extension with all of us who are Liberals and/or Democrats).
As we have seen all too well in recent years, and especially if Hillary does indeed win this November, we need to remember that building up a reservoir of ill-will prior to the election – whether we do so intentionally, or not – is not in the best interests of the incoming administration.
Standing for truth is important. Therefore, we cannot let lies and deviousness of any sort go unnoticed; but none of that is in Melania’s speech. There’s a big difference between pointing out such things when they occur, and engaging in preemptive attacks of our own.
Let’s build bridges; not canyons.