Mirror, mirror: Understanding Trump supporters

By Reade Brower | Sep 17, 2020

When I don’t like a controlling person it’s usually because of my own control issues; I know it when I see it because I am it.

Years ago, I was introduced to an interesting technique called “Mirroring” at a Hyde School parent seminar. Our facilitator gave us the assignment of writing a letter to someone we found “difficult.”

At the parent seminars, the directions from facilitators were to work on ourselves rather than focus on "fixing" our children because “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”; understanding oneself can explain where the child is.

In the exercise, the letter is read in front of the group. In the letter, someone might write, “you are so negative” or “you are passive aggressive and don’t say what you mean,” et cetera.

After all the letters were read, the facilitator had us reread them, inserting the word “I” for the word “you”. It was an “aha” moment for many to see the very things we found disturbing about others was part of our inner code. Not liking someone who is controlling is often because you like to be in control and passive aggressive; you know it because you use it, too.

Mirroring can be useful for understanding who we are and growing from it. It helps if we want to meet people where they are at, rather than shunning just because they don’t believe in the same things we do.

Recently, a friend has been posting on their wall (and sometimes others’ walls) about Trump being great, repeating Trumpisms including “fake news” whenever the facts or science don’t fit the narrative.

In an effort to have a discussion with my posting friend on the subject, trying to be polite and consistent, I made comments like: “I don’t believe the president is truthful or cares about anyone except himself. In Trump's own words, he tells Bob Woodward, in a taped interview, that he deliberately misled the American people because he didn't want them to panic. That seems indisputable, except to supporters who claim Trump to be Churchill-like in keeping his populace calm. Except Churchill never called Hitler or the German army a “hoax” or promised his people the German army would disappear when the weather got hot or they could repel them by drinking kitchen supplies. Churchill didn’t ignore science, use fear to lead, tell 20,000 plus lies or think he was the smartest and best person in the history of mankind.”

Anyway, readers can judge my Facebook opinions from the above text; I tried to be on point, respectful and based on facts, not emotions.

My friend has been relentless in his defense of Trump (“We need a businessman in the White House”), but when asked how it would feel not to get paid if you were in the path of one of Trump’s many failed businesses (six bankruptcies where laborers and contractors got stiffed) or my comment that Trump’s bully style is not negotiation that serves the long-run because playing fields constantly change, so keeping friends close and enemies closer is a preferred style; instead of an answer, my friend pivoted.

It finally came time for the last word; my friend said I could have it. When it didn’t fit the narrative, the pointed response to me (so much for my having the last word) was … “grow up.”

Hard to meet someone where they are at when that is final salvo, but having “mirror, mirror” to fall back on gives perspective. “You need to grow up” turns to “I need to grow up” and perhaps that is the only truth that came out of the exchange. That and love; Facebook posts by Trump supporters are consistently about how all non-supporters “hate” Trump and we are all “sheep.” Makes more sense to me (mirror, mirror) that the Facebook poster is the “hater” and part of the Trump sheep herd.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Look who Fred Trump was and look who Donald Trump is. Look at his children. All cut from the same cloth. The Kennedys were the opposite; a family destined to help people not born with silver spoons like themselves.


In another incident, in a restaurant overhearing boisterous discussion among siblings, one sister said, “I don’t want my grandchildren growing up under communism and socialism like what will happen if Biden is elected.” Then adding, “He goes around sniffing little girls.” And on and on it went. “Mirror, mirror”; Trump’s love of Putin and the love letters shared with Rocket Man tell exactly how Trump would love us to be an authoritative state with no checks or balances. “Sniffing hair versus hiring a prostitute, cheating on all three wives, one when she was pregnant” should then matter to his supporters.


Trying to understand this subject is like nailing jello to a wall — perhaps sharing jello shots when working to find common ground would bebetter; “mirror, mirror" — I’m all in on that.


“The sons of torture victims make good terrorists.” — Andre Malraux, novelist, adventurer, art historian, statesmen (1901-1976)

Reade Brower is the owner of these newspapers.

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Comments (11)
Posted by: Kevin Riley | Sep 18, 2020 09:21

"So you mean not all of the Biden, Gideon crowd put dog $hit in political opponents mailboxes"

I see you have a reading comprehension problem as well as been divorced from reality.

One person, one, only one. With that you claim a crowd or many or lots.
Reading comprehension problem as well as been divorced from reality.

I would suggest you go back and read your very own reference article but as stated, you won't comprehend it.

Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Sep 18, 2020 06:43

It is easier to fool someone than to tell them they are being fooled.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 18, 2020 05:27

It may well be that Joe Biden is too good a man to be elected President of the Disunited States of America.  The attacks against him are atrocious and demeaning of a fine gentleman who has dedicated his life to reaching out to others.   No matter what I will survive and thrive!! :)


Posted by: Jennifer Hill | Sep 17, 2020 10:47

Watched "The Social Dilemma" - netflix documentary - last night. It does make sense of Facebook in the middle of the war on facts. If we understand how it works, we can and will fix it.

Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Sep 17, 2020 09:11

So you mean not all of the Biden, Gideon crowd put dog $hit in political opponents mailboxes?  And the stereotype doesn’t feel good?Thanks for making my point!


John Murphy

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Sep 17, 2020 09:10

WOW. I just saw on the news that Gideon is leading Snow by 54% to 42% in polls. Looks like it might be bye bye for Susan. Somebody saw Susan checking her mailbox with rubber gloves on it is rumored. It was great. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.

Posted by: Lillias Martin | Sep 17, 2020 08:48

Ahhh, wait, didn't you just do some "good 'ol fashioned stereotyping" of the Biden, Gideon crowd? Looks as if the mirror suggestion may be true in this case.




Posted by: SUZANNE WILLIAMS | Sep 17, 2020 08:47

Written by Robert Williams

I do not know  which Trump supporters have children, but I have two. My question is, do you want your children to grow up and to become an image of Trump? By that I mean adopt his ethics, morality, personal responsibility, truthfulness, loyalty, and respect and concern for others?

Posted by: Kevin Riley | Sep 17, 2020 08:34

It's not stereotyping if it's the truth.
An example of what Reade is referring to is exactly the story you linked.
To quote you exactly,

"Last time I checked, it was the Biden, Gideon crowd that was putting dog $hit in the mailboxes"

Wherein the article s first sentence states

"The Hampden Police Department is looking for a woman who they say took political debate too far"

You claim it is many where in the real world it's one person.
That is being divorced form reality.

Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Sep 17, 2020 08:24

Last time I checked, it was the Biden, Gideon crowd that was putting dog $hit in the mailboxes of their political opposition. Not that you’re probably reporting that in any of your news publications.




John Murphy

Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Sep 17, 2020 08:12

Ahhh, yes . . . Nothing like some good ‘ol fashioned stereotyping of people with a different political perspective. You know, the “Deplorables”.


John Murphy

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