Dear Tom Brady,
I’ve been wanting to speak to you candidly about a man some think of as your friend, Donald Trump. In my mind, he’s no man at all. In fact, he’s giving men a bad name. Let me try to explain myself and, with luck, bring you onto my team.
To begin, I know in my heart that Trump doesn’t represent what even men raised in old fashioned “macho” traditions stand for. He lacks the backbone to admit when he’s wrong. That’s a primal sin where you and I come from. Coward that he is, he blames others for all of his failings. Your lineman are very clear about this: Tom never throws us under the bus to cover his own mistakes. Trump always does that. Your lineman talk about your loyalty. The minute you might be a liability to him, Trump throws you over.
We also know that he takes advantage of women. For that matter, he will exploit and overpower anyone who permits it. Power comes first in his world. Values, compassion, kindness fall to the rear. Is that manliness? We weren’t raised to get every last ounce of what we can take. We want to reap the harvest of our efforts but not to take and take, especially from women. Donald Trump embarrasses me when he does. I bet you are with me on this one, Tom.
We don’t have to be that perceptive to understand that Trump is afraid of women. Afraid in the primal, pre-verbal way that some species are afraid of others. Unless women are entirely pliant and worshipful, he protects himself by putting them down. God help a woman who might be honest and, at times, critical. If he weren’t so afraid, he’d be kinder, more respectful, actually interested in what they think. He wouldn’t need all those surrogates mouthing words for him in public
Donald Trump seems to believe that he can ride over his own fears and activate ours with his bullying ways. And too often he succeeds. But—and here I really hope you are with me, Tom—when we were growing up, didn’t we learn that bullies were insecure guys who had to prove, over and over, that they were stronger or, at least, that they weren’t weak. Because they are weak. You can beat a bully by standing up to him, which is what real men like you need to do, Tom.
Like a baby, Donald Trump needs constant attention. “Look at me, look at me,” he tells us. So do my grandchildren but by the age of four or five they already like to share the limelight with their siblings, friends, and parents. In small children, we know that this kind of narcissism is necessary to build up their egos. But once built, the ego no longer needs the constant, fawning attention of others and turns, instead, to learning, doing, accomplishing, joining. Weren’t we guys taught to say “aw shucks” after praise and then head to the sidelines so others could share the goodies.
It looks like Donald Trump never made that transition into adulthood. The biographies about him tell us that his is a severely injured ego that can never have enough reinforcement. All you have to do is read a little bit to find out how much his father tore him down and destroyed his confidence. It seems as though Donald learned to fake it in order to survive. I’d feel sorry for him if he didn’t hurt so many others. Real men—the men we are or aspire to be—don’t need constant reinforcement. We can be by ourselves, take pride in our work, take pleasure in solitude, enjoy our families.
Donald, may seem nice. But, after watching his performance over the last year, you’d have to admit, it’s a show. He’s really as selfish as they come. “Me, me, me” is only followed by “mine, mine, mine” in his vocabulary. Can real men endorse this? Don’t we have enough inner strength to put off such gluttony? Can’t we be sufficient unto ourselves? At least in our dreams?
Then let’s compare his actions with the ethical truths we hold dear. Trump is neither Christian, Jew, nor Muslim. He has no honesty, no charity, no generosity, no natural kindness. His values go directly against the teachings of all our religions about what a good man should be and do.
Tom, by now you know this is true. Help me to push him out of our club.
Let’s push him out into the desert, Tom. Expose him to the hot, glaring sun, where all can see. Trump is a long way from the lean, mean “fighting machine” that we men are supposed to be. Nor is he the spare, soft spoken guy who keeps his own counsel and lots of strength in reserve. He talks excessively. He preens. He’s a show off. That’s not us.
I could go on but I hope my point is clear. We men—if we are men—need to repudiate virtually everything Donald Trump does, and reject virtually everything that he stands for. I’m holding us to task. We need to maintain—or recover—what we like about our own manhood, and insist that Trump does, too. Short of that, we need to withdraw his membership from our club.
As you know, Tom, celebrity has its responsibilities too. You who stands up to charging lineman, who chose a wife with strength and character, who loves and admires the women and men in his family…it’s time for you, for us all, to stand up.