National Lessons in Plagiarism

DISCLAIMER: I POST THIS SIMPLY AS AN ACADEMIC, NOT AS A DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, LIBERTARIAN, OR OTHERWISE. I’M NOT LOOKING TO GET IN A POLITICAL DEBATE OVER IF THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT OR NOT. TO ME, IT IS, SO GET OVER IT! OKAY. ONTO THE NEW BLOG POST…

Anyone who has been paying attention to this presidential election knows that the Republican National Convention has kicked off. Making national headlines this morning, it was reported that Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, plagiarized her speech from the First Lady, Michelle Obama, when she made her own speech during the President’s campaign for the White House.

After seeing the footage side by side, holy crap…I’m sorry, but that speech was blatantly plagiarized.

Here’s my big issue with this, and it has nothing to do with politics, believe it or not.

Obama and Trump

Melania Trump (right) was accused of plagiarizing her RNC speech from First Lady Michelle Obama’s (left).

I’m an Academic Librarian and I teach students how not to do this every single day. Suddenly, a woman who could become the First Lady of the United States, does it and it is viewed by the public worldwide. This is a woman that young students could be looking up to on a daily basis very soon. As someone who works in collegiate academia, I am so not okay with this.

The Trump campaign has brushed it off like, “It’s no big deal,” while everyone else in the world of higher education along with me is screaming, “YES IT IS!!” And while I understand the arguments of, “well, it was her speech writer,” and, “every candidate’s spouse is going to say that,” it’s the fact that there was little to no attempt to paraphrase. Being able to say what was said by the First Lady could have been formulated and worded differently very easily by whoever wrote the controversial speech. Or even if Melania Trump wanted to say something like, “a few years back, Michelle Obama said of her husband Barack [fill in quote]. Well, I can say the same thing about my husband, Donald Trump.” Plagiarism, in essence, is a very simple thing to avoid.

Long story short, someone, whether Trump or otherwise, needs to be held accountable. Honestly, Mrs. Trump is lucky she’s not getting sued since I’m guessing Mrs. Obama’s speech isn’t copyrighted. There have been students who have been expelled from universities for pulling what happened at the RNC. I can’t help but feel that there should be a lesson learned here.

I’m shocked and disappointed as a professional in the field.

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