Mike Myers as Dr. Evil (from here)
Mike Myers as Dr. Evil (from here)

It is more important to stand for something than it is stand against something. When we vote, we should try to vote for someone whose views on the purpose government are similar to our own. The problem is that what lots of politicians say is not what they do. So when we check out the candidates we have to worry about how much damage we think they will do. Therefore, we often have to vote for the lesser of evils.

Unfortunately, when we try vote for the lesser of evils, that does not much complicate the campaign strategy of the more evil candidates.  They and their supporters just respond by trying to convince us the other guy is even worst, or, supposedly even more despicable, dumb.

Hence, my last post, YOU CAN PLAGIARIZE TRITE EXPRESSIONS? REALLY? derided the accusations that Melania Trump had plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. Ironically, we had two commenters in the last post, novascout (here and here) and Tony (here) try to persuade us that “of course it was plagiarism”. Google now reports 1,730 results for that phrase, “of course it was plagiarism”.

Supposedly, the Trump’s have conceded the accuracy of the charge of plagiarism by identifying the culprit (see Trump campaign tries to move on from plagiarism controversy). However, the headline says what is going on. The Trump campaign regards the accusation as a distraction.

Why put the silliness to rest? Let’s look at this two ways. First, consider what the Democrats want to argue about.  Here are are the priceless lines “stolen” from Michelle Obama’s speech. Note that none of the lines in Melania Trump’s speech are actually identical to those in Michelle Obama’s (see Melania Trump Copied from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Convention Speech (Snopes.com)). Note also that what is in bold below was supposedly stolen.

  • Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflect to this day on me and for my love of family and America. – Here Melania Trump talks about herself. Michelle Obama referred to her daughters. Seems like a strategic difference, but maybe Melania gave birth to herself.
  • 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. – Does Michelle Obama have the original copyright on: you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, you do what you say, and that you treat people with respect. Platitudes can be copyrighted?
  • They thought 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 on to the many generations to follow. – Two words in that sentence constitute plagiarism?
  • 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. – In America we use to grow up with our elders constantly telling us that the only only limits to our achievements were our dreams and our willingness to work. Now we are offended when a legal immigrant tells us that? Because of plagiarism? Plagiarism of who? Michelle Obama? Consider the irony.

As I said, I don’t get it. What is there in any of the supposedly plagiarized portion of Melania Trump’s speech that she should have credited to Michelle Obama? If this is how Democrats want to portray Donald Trump as evil, I think it is about as funny as Dr. Evil.

So what does Trump want to move onto? That is, what are the Democrats trying to distract us from? Consider.

What we should be doing is looking at what the people who are running for political office have done? What is it that they have done that qualifies them to run for high office, to spend our money and exercise power over us, our families, our friends and our countrymen.

What does they news media want to talk about? Well, it has more to do with theater and entertainment than substance.

Soon the conventions will be over. Are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the most unpopular presidential candidates ever? Maybe. Is our country in a mess? Yes. Is the mess getting worse? Yes. Are we going to start looking into the records of the people we vote for? God help help if we don’t.


  1. You wrote:

    “They get elected almost exclusively by pitting us against each other.”

    Tom – I feel that you did not intentionally mean it this way, but the implication here and a theme throughout the Republican Convention was that the underlying meaning of “us” is really code for the established white and Christian Americans. The theme each night at the GOP convention appealed to our darkest nativist fears and prejudices. For all practical purposes, each night’s angst inspiring iteration of “Make America Great Again” could have been more honestly marketed as “Make America White and Male Again”. This high minded disdain for “Identity Politics” only slightly veils an appeal to something more subtlety sinister – a deep rooted fear of the pluralism that has constantly reshaped our country when the “better angels” of the American Dream have mostly prevailed throughout our history.

    I write this here without animosity (personal or otherwise) but with love and with great sadness rather than anger. As many now wilderness banished Republican pundits have recently lamented, the Party of Lincoln, the Party of openness, the Party of positive dreams, died when Donald Trump became its nominee, and the Party of closedness, isolation and nativist fears replaced it for a while.

    Like the fear invoked “Know Nothings” and the McCarthists of the past, this fear and hatred inspired movement that has momentarily captured the GOP is doomed not only by simple demographics, but by the fact that its tragic appeal to some homogeneously white, male dominated, Protestant, “Leave it to Beaver” America never actually was an American Utopia, never could be, and is inherently un-American.


    1. Tony, I am a bigot. I am a sinner. However, …..
      Here is my post in response.

      I am not going to argue that I am perfect. I know better. You know better. But it is not the issue.

      What you are trying to do is justify outrageous abuses of government power. When the people you have voted for and are trying to elect are demonstrably incapable of managing that power without becoming wholly corrupt, why are you doing that? Why must you castigate me for pointing out what is open secret?

      Government cannot perfect us. It is the function of government to “fix” our neighbors? Don’t you know that sooner or later your neighbors will try to “fix” you?

      Freedom of religion (not freedom of worship) is our primary right. When you insist upon forcing your choices on others, telling them how to live, you are violating their basic rights. And that is what the Democratic Party wants to do.


  2. Keith – because of the apparent nature of the plagiarism, my first thought too was that it was sabotage by a mole in the Trump camp. I saw the “Rick Roll” meme a day or two later. The final claim that the quotes were “accidently” left in there seems incredulous also, considering that a few words were changed. But still no one was fired, which made me wonder if Mrs. Trump, actually did leave the plagiarized section in there, and the Trump campaign is actually protect her. That it could have been some other spoiled Trump trying to ruin the beautiful step Mom’s big show is an intriguing possibility (“oh, the drama”). We may never know for sure what happened, but calling it “strange” is an understatement. If a President Trump becomes a reality, however, get ready for a new strange I guess.


      1. Perhaps for the apparent Rickroll, Tom is right in this case- just a coincidence on a common phrase. Normally, I could go either way on that one, but my former Naval Intelligence subspecialization perhaps makes me more suspicious than I should be. It raises some interesting “reality television show” style intrigue to contemplate.

        Please excuse the “copywrite” mistake. I should know better, but for an English major, I am a notoriously bad speller, and in this case Spell Checker is of little help in disguishimg one of my many imperfections.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Now you’re just imitating grade school recess taunts. I long ago reminded you, Tom, that no one died and appointed you the credentials keeper of political labels, porous and abused as they have become in modern political discourse. I know damn well what my political alignments are, and I have better information on that subject than you do.

    Philosophical Conservatives don’t cotton to plagiarism. And they really, really don’t like people lying or dissembling or deflecting rather than taking responsibility once it is discovered. I would think that, on this thread, I have been expressing conservative values while you have been engaged in situational ethics, something that we conservatives tend to associate with liberals.

    Perhaps more generally, however, the political labels we apply to ourselves are often not particularly relevant to this or that issue. I think one can be appalled at what the Trump campaign tried to do with the unfortunate little mishap with Mrs’ Trump’s speech and still sincerely sit virtually anywhere on the cloudy present-day spectrum of America politics. This wasn’t a conservative/liberal watershed event.



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