Americans are fiercely independent and individualistic; we have a uniquely American culture that places high value on having a creative spirit, an individual’s ability to be unique and to achieve greatness as a result of hard work and innovation. We have created laws to protect intellectual property and we show respect for people’s ownership of their own success.
Democrat Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has a history of copying and using the creative spirit of others in his speeches and writings. In 1987 during his first failed run for President, his campaign was immobilized by a plagiarism scandal.
It was a fatal error in judgment: Biden repeated a poignant portion of prose by Neil Kinnock, UK Labour leader, who was running against Margaret Thatcher the same year. Not only did Biden steal Kinnock’s words, but the words themselves were a lie relative to Biden’s life, claiming that he was the first in his family to attend college which was not the case.
In May of 1987, Kinnock said: “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what we had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand.” He referenced his coal miner family roots. The audience was moved.
In September 1987, Biden stole this story and said: “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife… is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? …Is it because they didn’t work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come [home] after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It’s because they didn’t have a platform on which to stand.” Biden’s family never worked in coal mines.
Maureen Dowd, New York Times, helped break the story about Biden’s Plagiarism Scandal in 1987. She reported, “Senator Biden began his remarks by saying the ideas had come to him ‘spontaneously’ on the way to the debate. ‘I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family to ever (etc.)….” Although Dowd was a factual reporter with integrity at the time, she is now quick to provide liberal opinion pieces with limited integrity. In her recent opinion piece titled “Liar, Liar, Nation on Fire” she is full of excuses for Biden’s past behavior and at the same time she calls the sitting President childish names. The reference to a child’s taunt in the title of the article is a befitting start to her infantile tantrum that follows. The content of the article reflects her desire to see Biden, the plagiarizer she once chastised, in office.
In 1987, Biden pretty clearly used another man’s intellectual property to mislead his audience. (He even copied Kinnock’s had gestures during the speech.) Biden also stole Kinnock’s personal history; Biden claimed his father was a coal miner when in actuality, he sold cars. It was an effort to capitalize on someone else’s eloquence to gain votes.
There have been additional accusations over the years. He was accused of lifting rhetoric from speeches by Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy both. This is mentioned in Real Politics’ Tim Murtaugh commentary published in July 2020 and in Dowd’s 1987 article.
During that fateful campaign year, Biden was also forced to respond to allegations that he had plagiarized a paper in Law School. He claimed that he merely neglected to make a proper citation. “Look, I’m a big boy,” he said. ”I’ve been in politics for 15 years. This is not my style. If they want to do it this way, so be it.” It is clear that plagiarism, a lack of individual creative thought, and a lack of integrity are indeed his style after all.
And here we are in 2020. A time when it is much more difficult to get away with such a deceptions:
In Biden’s introduction of Kamala Harris (August 12, 2020) as his running mate, Biden recently titillated his followers with the words “We can define America simply in one word: ‘Possibilities.’ Possibilities. Let me say it again; possibilities. That’s America.”
As revealed by Jeffery Lord in his August 13th article, Biden’s words are oddly similar to a speech given by Ronald Reagan in September of 1984: “They have said that America is nothing if it isn’t promises. Well, America isn’t about promises; it never has been. America is about promise. It’s about possibility.
The “Build Back Better” slogan is also the new United Nation’s slogan, unveiled in April 2020 and on their website, as also reported by Mr. Murtaugh. There have been numerous other examples of plagiarism attributed to Biden, even including sections of his climate plan document unveiled in 2019.
Additionally, Biden found a great tag line for his campaign, “the battle for the soul of the nation.” Catchy. Also used by numerous other people before him, including various conservative evangelists. A little bit of a stretch for a claim of plagiarism, but another incident in a long line of intellectual theft.
A deeper issue:
Plagiarism or not, there is a far deeper issue. Oscar Wilde said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Wilde is indeed correct. Imitation is certainly flattery, but more than that, imitation is the way we learn. For example, when learning a musical instrument, first we learn to imitate our teacher – each note, each articulation, and each dynamic – it is a necessary step in the learning process. Once the student can effectively imitate his teacher, the next step is to build on that foundation – add phrasing and nuance, finding the subtleties of music, learning to express. As the student continues to add his own interpretations to that imitation, he slowly becomes more capable of creating unique thoughts and ideas – making his own music. Eventually, the student develops complete independence that allows him to be unique and fully creative – he graduates to innovation.
The real issue with Biden, after 40 years as a politician, is that he is still falling back to imitation of his teachers – he is not making his own music. Without an ability to innovate on his own, he will continue to rely on others to guide his performance. It’s a kind of arrested development in that he has apparently never graduated to independent thought or independent creativity. He is forced to rely on his puppet masters who are steering him far left politically.
America, especially right now, needs a leader who can innovate. One who can build a business into a personal fortune, one who can create a long-running highly successful television show, and one who can, as an outsider, run for President and win. One who can broker peace in the Middle East and beyond. One who can beat the Speaker of the House in a deal. One who can dramatically grow the economy and jobs, and in this case, one who has a proven track record of doing just that.
(photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash)