It’s About the Message, Not the Messenger

In the discussion about Melania Trump’s speech, people are missing what is really important, the message. Whether Michelle Obama, Melania Trump, or Will Steger says it, it is still vitally important. It is a valuable lesson to pass on to the next generation and every generation after that. The limit to your achievement is your imagination and your willingness to work towards your dreams. This is something that cannot be said enough.

Melania Trump’s plagiarism is not isolated. It is more indicative of a wider problem of speeches saying nothing but the same bland platitudes that offer no new insight and no new ideas or solutions. As Barton Swaim points out:

Most of the Monday night convention speeches sounded vaguely plagiarized. With only two or three exceptions, the speakers seemed unusually reliant on routine political verbiage. Their sentiments sounded borrowed, their tone tentative and self-conscious — almost as if they felt they shouldn’t be there at all.

I’ll have to take his word for it, as the RNC is so boring, I did not bother watching it at all.

In the two party system, the words don’t matter. Democrats watch the RNC to see what they can use against Trump. Republicans will watch the DNC to see what they can use against Hillary. Principles don’t matter. Big ideas don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what one team can use to attack the other side. This needs to end. Stop the bully politics. Sign the petition at

Words should matter. Ideas should matter. Principles should matter. We should have actual debates about actual ideas and stop playing Gotcha Politics. Stop tearing people down and start building yourself up. Discuss actual ideas.  #VoteDifferent #DreamDifferent #BeDifferent

As Elanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Discussions about Melania plagiarizing the speech and who should be fired are discussions for small minded people. It ignores the fundamental ideas underneath the speech. These are important ideas and values. Success is the ultimate end of liberty. Dreams are the bedrock on which liberty is founded.

There is a fundamental difference between the words strength and reach. Michelle Obama focused more on the aspirations, of setting bigger goals and higher standards. At least that is what I interpret “reach” to mean.

Strength of your dreams is a bit different. There’s a quote by Robert Kiyosaki, whom Donald Trump worked with: “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”

As I understand it, the strength of your dream is the passion and drive behind it. This is more important than the reach. Without that passion and drive, you will not soldier through the mundane and redundancy that is required to master a skill. You need to find the right dream for you, your true calling and passion in life. It takes passion and commitment to overcome the litany of disappointment and missteps and false starts and come out victorious in the end. Without strength in your dream, it becomes too easy to give up; it becomes too easy to let your dreams die outside your reach.

As much as I love music, I just could not find it in me practice to the extent that I needed to succeed. I didn’t want to lug the baritone to and from school. I did not really want to practice playing the baritone. However, with mathematics, education, and coding, I did give it my all and find the time to give it the extra effort. There is something inside of me that is more passionate about mathematics, education, and coding that allows me to bear the redundancy and frustrations in those areas more than the redundancy and frustrations in music.

But it could also be argued that I did not set high enough goals for myself musically and that also lead to stagnation. To be successful, you need strength and reach.

And oh, this Robert Kiyosaki quote applies as well:  “I believe that one key to success is to accept truth, no matter how it’s spoken.” The message really is more important than the messenger. Whether Melania Trump stole it from Michelle Obama does not matter as much as the fact that you heard the message.

But the Robert Kiyosaki quote that really stands out is: “History reminds us that dictators and despots arise during times of severe economic crisis.” Please don’t take my remarks as defense of Melania or an endorsement of Trump. Rather it is a plea to venture into the realm of ideas. We do not advance the cause of liberty by attacking people. We advance liberty by discussing ideas.

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