Posted on July 19, 2016

Night 1 of the RNC: When Plagiarism Isn’t Your Worst Problem

Joan Walsh, The Nation, July 19, 2016

The darkest, most surreal opening to a presidential nominating convention in modern history featured a forgotten 1970s sitcom star mouthing a line almost identical to one by black poet Langston Hughes, certainly without knowing he’d done so. The evening effectively ended with aspiring first lady Melania Trump plagiarizing passages of Michelle Obama’s lovely and moving 2008 convention speech, probably also without realizing it. But talk about cultural appropriation.

{snip} After Scott “Chachi” Baio and before the aspiring first lady, Monday night showcased the macabre and the mediocre. The grieving mothers, fathers, and siblings of Americans killed by brown people–“illegal aliens” and “radical Islamic terrorists”–blamed their losses, in bloody detail, on President Obama and the woman who would follow him. {snip}

There was a visceral and occasionally alarming passion in the hoots and howls of the delegates every time they had a chance to boo Clinton. The only other moments of genuine excitement came when two of the night’s three black speakers declared “Blue lives matter” and “All lives matter,” praising American police and attacking Black Lives Matter protesters. You’ve got to give them credit: Republicans love black people who think the way they do. (Unfortunately, there aren’t many in Cleveland: Only 18 GOP delegates of 2,473 this year are African American.)