All of the 74 million+ people who supported Trump and even many of the people who came to the Capitol to protest are not bad or wrong.
Something that might be helpful however to altering their undeterred attachment to President Trump is to imagine an avatar that represents all of them – not including the anarchists who may be driven by other motives.
Imagine that avatar as being committed to all things Trump then apply an approach called the five really’s. The five really’s is a way to listen deeply into someone who is behaving in a certain way that is either destructive to others, to themselves or to their futures to reveal what might really be going on that is fueling that behavior.
The dialogue would go as follows:
Question 1: You appear to be completely committed to President Trump regardless of what he does or says and become angry and agitated by any attempts to remove him or discredit him. What’s that about?
Answer: (From Pro Trump Avatar) I don’t care what anybody says about him. He cares about and fights for people like me.
Q 2: We understand he cares about and fights for people like you, but what’s really going on?
A: Prior to him, all the politicians in Washington especially the Democrats and even the Republicans who didn’t get much done for people like me, didn’t get how difficult a time we’re having economically, having jobs taken away from us by cheaper labor or high tech which is not something we’re skilled at or ever think we can learn. Plus, people want to take away our right to have guns which is the second amendment.
Q 3: We understand that too, but what’s really going on?
A: Our towns and cities are turning into ghost towns because jobs are going away and we can’t support ourselves or our families, and then when we want to use firearms which help us deal with all the stress, that’s also being taken away.
Q 4: We understand that too, but what’s really going on?
A: We’re getting more and more drunk and resorting to drugs including opiates to deal with it and yelling at our families and it just keeps getting worse.
Q 5: We understand that too, but what’s really going on?
A: You want to know the truth? It’s like what Rocky Balboa said to his wife in Rocky 3 after he’d been destroyed in a fight with his opponent Clubber Lang when she kept pushing him to open us, “I’m afraid! And if I really let myself feel how afraid I am I’ll start panicking and then I’ll be no good to anybody for anything. And if I really reach that point, I might just have to kill myself because I couldn’t take it anymore. And so, it’s kill myself or get angry and have someone like President Trump be my champion and fight for me. Because you see, I don’t want to die, but I can’t live with feeling so trapped, afraid and feeling panicky.”
What would going through such an exercise accomplish?
At the very least if Trump’s supporters could bare their necks instead of their teeth, the hurt, pain and fear they feel underneath that is driving their anger and stop attacking Trump opponents using his vicious rhetoric, it might just cause those Trump opponents to stop being on the defensive and listen and then be able to have a conversation to address those fears.
You think that’s too Pollyanna?
Well imagine that you have a teenager who is always acting out by using drugs, alcohol, having angry outbursts and you tried the five really’s on him or her. And when you got to the bottom what if he or she looked at you and said, “You want to really know what’s going on with me? I’m afraid I might be crazy and broken and can’t be fixed and my life will never work out no matter what I try. That’s what’s going on!”
Then imagine your teenager goes from angry outbursts to sobbing uncontrollably in ways that you have never heard or seen. Would that bring out in you a punitive or shaming reaction, or would you then calm down and look for ways to help him or her?
Maybe so… but maybe not.