How to Plagiarize a Campaign Speech

Thank you. Thank you all! I’m very excited to remain unseen behind the black and white of typed script.

I am a US citizen. I am not a patriot because most of the time I feel like I’m tethered to the world with the thinnest thread and I could float away at any moment. For me, patriotism is highly impractical.

I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, a state of regular size in the United States. My sister, who is an incredible woman and friend was also born here. We were raised by our parents, as were our brothers. My elegant and clever mother introduced me to fashion and beauty but I never took to it. My father had a passion for business and travel, which he did a lot.

From a young age, my parents impressed upon me the value of hard work. I’m very lucky to have a sturdy body. It has helped me to labor tirelessly for other people. We all want our children to achieve, to have hopes and dreams. We want them to do their homework, go to college for free. We want them to laugh often. We want them to fall in love. We want them to find the thing in their lives that interests them and we want that to be their job. We want them to live in an alternate reality.  

I have no aspirations to be first anything, although I’m usually the first one awake in my house. This is a necessity.  I never place first in video games. I rarely seat myself  in the first chair at the front of a room. I prefer sitting at the back by the door, in case I feel the need to flee. I’d love to have the financial backing to buy a residency in the country of my choosing.

Thankfully, my word is not my bond. I once said to my teenager, “I’m going to put that laptop in the oven, turn it on, and we’ll all die from the toxic fumes!” It was not a promise. It was an experiment in parent-child communication. The bond I adhere to centers around one belief– if  she/he/it breathes, she/he/it must be accorded care, kindness, compassion, and justice.

I’m very fortunate for my white, privileged heritage. I’ve never had to experience the fear and injustice because of being black, of being a refugee fleeing a war-torn country, of being LGBT, or of being despised for a million other possible non reasons. I do have the experience of being a woman which, in itself, is hugely complex even without the reality of misogyny.

I would like to take a moment to recognize an amazing poet, the great Walt Whitman, who wrote, “…dismiss whatever insults your own soul…” He also wrote, “…stand up for the stupid and crazy…” though I don’t think he was talking about politicians.  And let us thank all of the writers across this country and around the world. We are truly blessed to be here, since most of us will never have any kind of recognition and will live in poverty. That will never change.

I can tell you that I have been concerned about this country for a long time. I think small. I see things. Sometimes I have trouble focusing, literally and figuratively. I am not tough but I am kind and fair and caring. This kindness is not always noted and this confuses me because it is there for all to see. What I tell you about myself may or may not be true.

I’ve graduated from college twice. The first time I saw This is Spinal Tap, I experienced culture shock and I’m very good at hydrating vegetables. I’d welcome change and I’d welcome prosperity, as I’m sure would all people, not just some of the people. That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims. It includes Hispanics and African Americans and Asians, and the poor and the middle- class. Did I forget anyone?

Like no one else, I have seen the talent, the energy, the tenacity, the resourceful mind, and the simple goodness of the heart of God. Everything depends on it. Let’s all come together.

Thank you.

2 thoughts on “How to Plagiarize a Campaign Speech

  1. You see things through the eyes of a poet but with the detail normally reserved for an Ansel Adams or a wildlife artist. Perhaps that explains your fascination with cameras as well as words. We always speak of the writer’s voice – rarely about the writer’s eye – you have them both.

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