The big scandal in the news is that Melania Trump, the same person who lied about graduating with an architecture degree from the University of Slovenia, plagiarized her speech at the Republican National Convention.
Several parts of her speech appear to have been lifted from Michelle Obama’s DNC speech in 2008, which is hilarious considering that the same Republicans who love to criticize the First Lady are now coming to Melania’s defense by applauding her copy-cat speech.
While the Trump camp has completely denied accusations of what many believe to be obvious plagiarism, the truth is that we’re all focusing on a very small component of a huge problem that we’ve all accepted as normal in American politics.
Nearly every politician plagiarizes their speeches, because nearly every politician has a speech writer do the work for them. That very behavior is at the core of plagiarism. Political speeches might represent the ideas of the politician at hand, but often times it’s not written in their own words.
Sure, the writers obviously authorize the use of the speeches because they were paid to write them. But that still doesn’t change the fact that what our politicians are saying in an effort to convince us to cast our ballots in their favor are not their words.
So are we voting for speech writers or are we voting for politicians?
In the case of Melania Trump, I don’t really know much about her political ideology or who she is as a person. Her speech at the convention was a chance for everyone to get to know her. But her time on that stage was nothing more than a missed opportunity because she was just reading from a script someone else prepared for her.
None of what she said was “her” speech. She took someone else’s work and represented it as her own as many politicians, including both Democrats and Republicans, routinely do.
Americans are tired of the platitudes and disingenuous rhetoric. What stood out, and what seemed to work quite well for candidates during this election cycle, were the moments of off-the-cuff speech.
As much as I dislike Trump, I have to admit that his campaign took off because he seemed real and unscripted to a lot of voters. He wasn’t rehearsed, senatorial, or buttoned up. That resonated with people who are distrustful of today’s politicians.
The same went for Bernie Sanders, who obviously had a completely different platform and political ideology from Trump’s. Young people overwhelmingly supported Bernie because he wasn’t the standard politician. He let his hands flail around as he passionately spoke about the issues that sincerely matter to him. He was real.
So yes, Melania’s speech did sound a lot like Michelle Obama’s at times. But when considering the grand scheme of things, none of those words were her own, and that’s the real problem.
WATCH: Trump holds mask-optional Mount Rushmore rally and fireworks celebration
President Donald Trump left the White House during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday to attend an Independence Day event in South Dakota.
Trump was told not to attend but did so anyway.
“Trump coming here is a safety concern not just for my people inside and outside the reservation, but for people in the Great Plains. We have such limited resources in Black Hills, and we’re already seeing infections rising,” the Oglala Sioux president, Julian Bear Runner, told the Guardian. “It’s going to cause an uproar if he comes here. People are going to want to exercise their first amendment rights to protest and we do not want to see anyone get hurt or the lands be destroyed."
One of COVID-19’s unlisted side effects: An increase in police power
As governments across the globe expand mass surveillance programs in the name of public health, activist and whistleblower Edward Snowden warns that we are watching them build "the architecture of oppression." Perhaps more insidious are new measures that simply expand the power and discretion of the police to "enforce social distancing" in the name of flattening the curve — many of which were passed swiftly in just the past few weeks.
Women on the frontline: Nurses are patients’ last contact before passing away
Every night, from their balconies and windows, the French publicly applaud healthcare workers and nursing staff on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19. In France, nearly 90 percent of nurses are female. So how are these women coping with this unprecedented crisis? FRANCE 24 spoke to four of them.
"For the moment, our most important mission is to help patients but if this continues, they will have to find cannon fodder elsewhere," said Leslie, a palliative care nurse in Marseille, working 12 hours a day to care for people at the end of their life.
Like all hospitals and clinics in France, her department is constantly receiving critical Covid-19 cases: "We have drastically reduced visits, so imagine telling families, who know their loved ones are at the end of their life, that they have no right to see them. Psychologically, this is incredibly difficult for us. We are their only contact before they die. "