This is a hard one. I’ve racked my brain endlessly trying to come up with the best approach.
The biggest problem is that Donald J. Trump has brainwashed his followers through deception, lies, and repetition to be closed-minded, self-righteous, and combative. And to only listen to and believe him. This is the real “wall” that Trump has built. It is a wall that has divided the American people in many tragic, painful, and dangerous ways.
Americans who have never supported Trump have paid dearly for this “wall.” Those who have and continue to support Trump have paid an even greater price. They just don’t know it yet. But they absolutely will… eventually. Then they will have to live with it.
The first time I approached family and friends on the subject of Trump was early in the Covid-19 pandemic. I tactfully challenged their allegiance to Trump at that time because I knew he was lying, giving bad advice, and was completely incompetent, which proved to be heartbreakingly true.
I saw my efforts to get through to these family members and friends about Trump as an earnest attempt to save their lives from COVID-19. Nevertheless, when I approached them, they were just as said, closed-minded, self-righteous, combative, and firmly loyal to Trump. It was confusing and dispiriting.
You might be wondering if I hang out with these people. I do not. I can not get my head around associating or socializing with anyone who is a Trump supporter even if they are family members or friends.
After months of consideration, here’s how I’ve concluded to be the best way to approach family and friends who remain Trump supporters. Just writing that is mind-blowing when I think about all the horrible things Trump has done and continues to do.
Since I knew that they would likely be obstinate, sanctimonious, and belligerent, I decided to be nonconfrontational by using questions and by giving them a reputation to live up to. The last part is a Dale Carnegie relationship strategy that I’ve used very successfully as a corporate soldier and in my personal life.
I suspect that Trump will do his most horrendous act when he is charged with a crime, which may produce widespread violence. It will be at this time that I’ll need to find out where my Trump-supporting family members and friends stand. Here is what I’m planning to say.
“Are you still a Trump supporter?”
With a likely answer of a nasty-toned “Yes!,” I’ll respond with this.
“You are too smart for that.” “And the integrity of your ancestors is too strong.”
If that produces the typical Trump-like response, I’ll leave it there knowing that I planted seeds that may germinate later. If there are any indications of a waning in loyalty toward Trump I’ll say this.
“What if it’s true about all the bad things that are being said about Trump?” “How would you feel then?” “Do you think it’s time to take a break from Trump and consider this?”
Cult expert Steven Hassan offers many insights and ideas on how to talk with family and friends in his book, The Cult of Trump. Hassan’s book convinced me about the importance of being tactful, but his approach is a bit too soft for me. Considering all the damage Trump has done to America it’s impossible for me to give a pass to those who empowered him with their vote and continued support.