Ever read “Dilbert?” I ask because earlier this week, the comic strip’s creator, Scott Adams, highlighted a letter to 2016 GOP presidential front-runner written by one of his readers, a black man named Troy Morton.
Upon sharing Troy’s letter, traffic to Adams’ website skyrocketed, and for good reason — the letter was a tearjerker.
Read, and please excuse the breaks, but I wanted to jot down some notes between major segments:
To: President Trump
From: Just a simple man
I’ve been following your campaign since your announcement, reading millions of words written about you, watching thousands of hours of video and speeches, listening to many talk radio show segments, and engaging in dozens of debates with people around me.
No candidate has ever captured my attention the way you have.
Now that it’s clear you will be the Republican nominee, I want to share with you something so personal, painful, and uplifting, that I almost don’t want to write it, but I will anyway…trolls be damned:
Trump somehow captured Morton’s attention, and now he wants to explain why.
My whole life, up until yesterday, has been based on reaction to fear.
Growing up as a black man in Washington D.C. during the “crack 80’s”, when Marion Barry was mayor, I lived a lower middle class childhood in one of the most dangerous cities in America. Though I had many friends, I was also subject to the threats, intimidation, and bullying that happens when you’re not like the people around you.
There was no father in my life to steel me against the world I lived in. My mother was strong, but it’s not exactly the kind of strength I needed. I was a boy, and needed a Man.
Without strong male guidance, I learned to fear…but not how to face fear and win. Even joining the military and going to war didn’t overcome my weakness, and all my future decisions considered strongly the level of fear I had at the time.
As a result, my life has been full of conflict, as I have unintentionally signaled to adversaries that I am an easier opponent to beat than others. I have won victories, but never truly enjoyed them knowing the battle is never won for me…only endured. I have also suffered crushing defeats, and important people in my life lost confidence in me as a result. I have not reached my potential, and settled instead into apathy and stasis, content to only being “smart enough” or “good enough”…not great. Not strong. Not resolute…
Not a leader. Not a winner.
Morton suffered grievously throughout his life and slowly lost confidence in himself, to the point that he began perceiving himself as a loser, not a winner.
My life, in many important ways, mirrors the American experience. Potential to be great, but paralyzed by fear. Full of conflict. Enduring, not winning. No leadership. No strong Male inspiration. And occasional, crushing defeats that hit to the core of our country…most notably 9/11, but also with the erosion of our middle class and uniquely American culture.
Like you say so often: we don’t WIN anymore.
Americans have felt the same way about themselves courtesy the “crushing defeats” we have continuously endured these past few decades, but particularly so these past eight years.
Watching your campaign, and being as invested in it as I am, has been an exercise in recognizing, and confronting, fear that I never expected. Every time your opponents hit you…I feel fear for your candidacy and our country. Every charge of racist, sexist, facist, etc. causes me to worry that no one, not even you, can really change the country for the better. That we’re doomed to failure…
Then…inevitably…you win the battle. You don’t “survive”, or “endure”…you attack, and put fear into your opponents. You don’t stop until they are buried under your feet. Until they become paralyzed…
Sometimes, you even bait them into hitting you, just so you can beat the crap out of them again. Your life is full of conflict, but it becomes yet another opportunity to WIN, and makes you MORE powerful…not less.
Then, once they are eliminated as a threat, you are generous to the vanquished. It’s not personal, and they are not evil. They were, simply…in the way. Once they are not, they become worthy of kindness and respect.
Furthermore, you’re not just a blunt instrument…your strategy is impeccable. You go into every conflict knowing exactly what your opponents weaknesses are, how to exploit them, and what levers to pull to ensure victory. Clearly, you spend good time before announcing your candidacy doing the things the military taught me as a young soldier: surveying, recon, intelligence-gathering, ammunition, discipline, execution…
Enter Trump, who exemplifies every single thing that Morton, as well as countless other Americans, aspire to be.
You are defending America from our enemies within, and it’s an AMAZING thing to watch.
Last night, you also did something else. You became the Man that helped me see fear for what it is: an illusion of power, a powerful teacher, and the path to winning if used properly. There is no reason, regardless of the enormity of the task, to lose to fear if you prepare well, are disciplined in your execution, and have the faith necessary, in God, yourself, and in others…that leads to victory.
Winning is always possible, but becomes probable if you never back down, never quit, and become your dominant self. Once the battle is won, treat the vanquished with kindness and respect. Be the bigger man.
You taught me how to Win.
I appreciate what you’ve done for me personally, and what you’re doing for our country. I know I’m not the only man who admires you, and can’t wait for you to become the father, and leader, of our country. It’s been a long, cold winter for men in America the last 8 years, and I believe that your election will dramatically improve the level of respect, admiration, and love people will show for strong men and Fathers, and will create a new generation of leaders from impressionable young boys.
That, more than anything, will Make America Great Again.
Donald Trump wants to make America great again — and in doing so, he has already started make every single one of us, including Troy Morton, great as well!
While information on Morton is limited at the moment, if you would like to try and get in touch with him, check out his Disqus profile here.