Everyone says they love the country, but they don’t say why anymore.
When you consider how banal the lines were that were plagiarized, you’ll get an idea of just how silly an incident it is to be upset about; its not far removed from claiming that a Hallmark card is plagiarized, or for a specific example, that Make America Great Again was plagiarized from the Reagan campaign. Her speech sounded like a generalized political speech someone would give in a movie.
The real cause for concern is the same orange charismatic demagogue who has been winning support for the last year on the basis of very little substance and in spite of his Todd Akin, Mr Magoo-like bafoonery. Apparently, he is leading a nationalist movement. Trump loves the country. It’s one of the main selling points. It’s apparently one of the rationalizations for his protectionist trade policy. I agree that it does seem like Trump loves the country in a way that distinguishes himself from popular Leftists. But, it is difficult to believe that he doesn’t realize how inadequate he is for the task of running for President and afterwards to actually be President, and so there is a very sinister vibe to what he is doing.
In one way or another, Melania referred to Trump’s love for the country as many as ten times in her short speech. But apparently, it is not essential to the message to say why Trump loves the country. There are a lot of potential voters, leftists and otherwise, who do not love the country, or do so in a strange way that they want it fundamentally transformed. How are these people going to be talked to, much less persuaded, if we aren’t going to say why we love this country?
Melania never mentions why Trump loves the country. You could almost say that she says why she loves the country when she implies that she was happy to leave the oppressive communist Slovenia that she left. But really, that only delays the question of why America isn’t oppressive and communist.
America is great because its founding was the deliberate result of commitment to abstract principles like justice, liberty and moral virtue. It reintroduced to the world the idea that mankind was capable of self-government, but did not deny the indispensability of moral virtue to that project. It is great because people throughout America’s history did the right things at the right times and left us a fantastic legacy of culture and political institutions that would be the envy of any serious thinker from any prior historical period if they could be made aware of it. And yet it does not seem as though Trump is familiar with these ideas, and he certainly doesn’t speak about them as he has spent much time thinking about them.
The disparate “right-wing” movements that support Trump have come to be known as the “alt-right,” and they do not appear to seriously consider what it is that has made America great either.