Updated: Oct 12
Recently I was talking about plagiarism with a friend. It was actually the first serious conversation I've had about plagiarism since college. Plagiarism basically means the copying, re-use or re-packaging of someone else's intellectual property without attribution. Basically if you are a plagiarist you steal someone else's words or ideas and present them as your own. If you are a plagiarist you are a thief. You are a goniff with chutzpah. (If you don't know what that means just find a Yiddish/English dictionary.) I don't like thieves.
But we weren't talking about Joe Biden. We were talking about our own rather inconsequential amateur blog. Both of us had our work repackaged by better known bloggers. (Or journalists... really, who cares?) We were both irritated. Neither of us get paid. And this isn't an ego trip for us. We really do care about the message. If someone with a bigger following wants to share my stuff I'm genuinely thrilled. Because I don't care if my name goes on it.... I'd rather have a thousand people read my words -even if they think someone else wrote them- than a hundred. This isn't an ego trip for me.
But there has always been something about plagiarism that strikes me as petty, sneaky and lazy. Thus even with my modest following I have always made an effort to avoid even accidental plagiarism. Why write the same stuff other people do? I blog in part because there are a lot of stories that aren't being covered and a lot of perspectives people aren't seeing. I care about local issues, I care about the local issues that barely get lip service from the perpetually woke social justice warriors. I care about the quirky stuff. I care a lot about First Amendment issues and right now very few people in the mainstream media even seem to be aware that in the San Francisco Bay Area churches and synagogues and temples have been ordered closed by local authorities. Right now the Catholics are carrying water for all people of faith, because the Catholics are fighting back. But that isn’t a story you would even be aware of if you watched local television or read local papers in my area. I write about the gaps I see in the numbers… things other Republicans want to ignore. (I write about Texas, because Texas is pink now and may be purple some day soon, and it is NOT California’s fault.) Personally I find it easy to find stories to write about that haven’t been hashed over a thousand times by a thousand other bloggers.
In some ways low level anger can be inspiring, I haven’t thought seriously about plagiarism since college. I don’t plagiarize anyone else’s work as the unpaid blogger for the MarinGOP —let’s face it, on the totem pole of Conservatives we’re pretty much the Lost Battalion— and I never thought anyone would want to plagiarize my stuff.
Plagiarism is theft. Who would bother to steal from a writer as insignificant as I am? If you are going to steal or, ahem, “borrow” why not steal from Shakespeare? Or Rush Limbaugh? Or Willa Cather? Don’t borrow from the MarinGOP. (Actually please do borrow… I mean, if you need our ideas, take them and run with them.)
I mean, why?
And then I had that lightbulb moment. I realized that plagiarism is really at the heart of most mainstream political discourse and that is why the political mainstream, “the swamp,” hates Donald Trump.
Donald Trump isn’t a plagiarist. His ideas are his own.
In a political world where most people borrow, steal, repackage, repurpose and recycle other people’s ideas, President Trump has his own ideas.
A lot of people say Donald Trump isn’t a politician. Which is absolutely true. He isn’t what we expect from a modern politician. We expect our politicians to be scripted, out of touch and lazy. Donald Trump is unscripted, hardworking, and may have the best instinctive grasp of our shared American experience of anyone now living. It is refreshing, it is bewildering, it is invigorating.
Donald Trump has unique ideas. And unique ideas seem to be in such short supply in 2020 that people are even willing to steal the unique ideas of someone like me.
The question we should be asking is why an absolute army of political amateurs aren’t stealing Donald Trump’s ideas right now. Why aren’t a hundred thousand political neophytes out running for school board?
Donald Trump won the presidency the first time he ran for political office. Which is a little bit like winning the Indy 500 the same week you get your driver’s license. Talk about winning bigly. There is no league bigger than the American presidency.
In 2017 the realization that an outsider political neophyte from New York, an ex Democrat who flipped Republican, had become President should have inspired a legion of other unique American voices to get in the game. It should have inspired the Democrats to up their game. It should have inspired Republicans to figure out how they had gotten back in the game. (Back in 2009 the “smart money” political experts thought Republicans would never again win a national election.)
But apparently being unique is hard. Even faking unique is hard. Apparently it is really hard for people who dabble in politics.
I suspect Donald Trump couldn’t be anything other than unique if he tried. And so the plagiarists of the swamp —the angry mainstream media types, the bitter Never Trumper Republicans, the bureaucrats who never ran for any political office but seem to think they are the “real government”—set out to crush, stifle or mock Donald Trump’s unique voice.
Quite frankly I kind of wish a couple of politicians had just tried to steal his ideas. We could use more American politicians like Donald Trump.
Maybe we just need more amateurs like me. Ordinary Americans, unpaid and unprofessional who are trying to think things through on their own. No filters. No packaging, no recycling.
I really wish the Democratic Party had tried to steal some of Donald Trump’s ideas. Instead the New Left that is pushing a Biden/Harris Administration —or is it a Harris/Beto O’Rourke Administration?— opted to recycle, repackage, and resell the old, dead and bad ideas of the Marxists of the 1920s, the Maoists of the 1950s, the campus radicals of the 1960s and ‘70s, and then add a dose of woke 21st century gender theory and garnish it with some frankly racist tribalist demographic arguments.
Donald Trump is an incumbent. He is running as an incumbent. But he is still an outsider. He still has his own ideas. Joe Biden doesn’t seem to have EVER had his own ideas. (Admittedly his running mate sort of has her own "facts.") Running a political campaign from an alternate perspective is cool. Running a political campaign from an alternate reality is just nutty.
Right now the situation is nutty. And it isn’t nutty because Donald Trump is president. It is nutty because the entire swamp is in a state of denial. They don’t want fresh ideas. They don’t want different ideas. They don’t want unique perspectives. They want the same old same old repackaged, recycled and irrelevant failed policies of the last ninety years.
So go ahead. Steal this. Please. Be inspired. Take these unique ideas and repackage them, make them your own. Run with it. Make America Great Again.