Now there’s 8 words I never fathomed I’d type.
In case you missed it, last night was the opening night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. There was an OCEAN of red-blooded American fervor throughout the day with wave after wave crashing just a bit further up the shoreline of conservative patriotism. We saw everything from Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson guaranteeing that no matter what you face in life, Trump would “Have Your Back,” to Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani promising that Trump would do for America what he did for the city of New York. But the pinnacle of the night was when Trump’s closest confidant and ally, his wife and possible future first-lady took the stage to talk about her husband, their ideals, and their heart for the future of our nation.
This is where an already shaky train began to come off the tracks. All in all, it was a passionate, articulate, and beautifully worded speech. The problem: SOME (not many to be fair, but some) of those words weren’t hers. They weren’t her speechwriter’s either. They came from an unusual and unlikely source…take a look.
Now, I’m not a political pundit, advisor, or even enthusiast so I’m not here to debate the issue. Whether you believe this was a problem or not for the RNC, the Trump campaign or even Mrs. Trump herself is really irrelevant to me. I’m sure people will debate about what this does to the integrity of the campaign (if anything) for days to come. That isn’t my agenda here.
My agenda is to communicate a much more encouraging gem that this “plagiarism” has unearthed from the ashes of what has looked like Rome burning to the ground over the past several weeks.
See, you would have had to have been living under a rock wearing your best pair of Beats by Dre noise cancelling headphones to not realize the seemingly insurmountable division, vitriol, hate, and anger that has flooded our news feeds in recent days. It seems as if EVERYBODY in EVERY regard has taken a side on a particular reality or circumstance and has taken issue with anyone with the opposing viewpoint.
Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter…
law enforcement agencies vs. the African-American community…
radical religious terrorists vs. anybody else who doesn’t believe and live like them…
Republicans verses Democrats…
Republicans verses Republicans…
moderate Democrats versus Socialists…and the list goes on and on.
These divisions have led to bloodshed and have fueled the very anger which has led to even more bloodshed.
The life of the innocent is being snatched away right before our very eyes and we as a people have been left reeling in disbelief. The divisive violence, vitriol, and hatred being poured over you and me (and out of you and me) have left many of us desensitized to the severity of the anguish filling our hearts and homes.
Up until last night, I saw a divided nation, with little to no hope for ever finding common ground in my lifetime.
That was until Melania took the stage.
The moment she begin to utter the words that had previously been spoken by what many would call a political enemy, both of which were followed by enormous support and applause…I saw it. In plain sight. As if it’s been there the whole time, just waiting on a slip up like this to create a visible crack in the walls. Unquestionable commonality…and that’s a GOOD thing.
Look below at the portion of the transcript.
These are the words that were “plagiarized.” But they are so much more. They are also the words that members of the Republican party last night…and members of the Democratic Party just a few short years ago both APPLAUDED, RESONATED WITH, AND BELIEVED IN.
People in the law enforcement community believe these words, and people who proclaim that “black lives matter” believe these words. People who love God believe these words, and people who aren’t sure God even exists believe these words. People on EVERY side believe these words, evidenced by the fact that they were uttered in enemy camps and were met with the same response.
The reality is that no matter how divided we may seem right now, no matter how divisive the language has become, and no matter how horrific what is being said and done in moments of anger and vindication is, there are still some core realities that we ALL believe in. They are the realities which unite us.
We all believe that hard work pays off in the end.
Whether we are faithful in living it out or not, we ALL believe that keeping your word is the most important thing you can do among your fellow-man.
Deep down behind the anger and frustration, we all believe that human beings from EVERY background are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.
We all believe that the best thing we could do for our country is to instill these values in our children and grandchildren.
And we all hope, pray, and believe that the sky is the limit for every single one of them as long as they are willing to carry out these values.
Forget policy for a moment. Forget the content of your protest banner, or the ideology of your movement. And remember that the very people you disagree with on what’s best for our future AGREE with you on some of these fundamental values. From Melania to Michelle…and every human in between.
Last night, just a few seconds of accidental “plagiarism” might have very well revealed the very truth this world so desperately needs. We were reminded that even though BOTH sides fail miserably and continuously at carrying them out, BOTH sides hold certain values in high esteem and want to instill those values in their children. Finding this common ground, despite our differences, enables us to extend grace to the other side. It enables us to understand the other side. It enables us to stop seeing people by the labels they wear, but instead by the hopes in their heart.
Whatever “side” you’re on, remember this. The people on the other side aren’t perfect. The people on the other side are hypocrites like you and me. The people on the other side are often wrong and struggle to ever readily admit it.
But so are we.
I’m convinced when we stop looking at people through the lens of their own shortcomings and our own disagreements, and begin to see them through the lens of their hearts, their hopes, and their values, the walls of division might start coming down and unity might begin to creep across the border of our souls again.
And these walls MUST. COME. DOWN.