John Oliver

A Canadian in Denver: that time my black Uber driver explained why he’d vote for Trump

Disclaimer: I am Canadian. Our political spectrum is much more leftist than the states (even our Conservative politicians are more liberal than most Democrats in the USA). Furthermore, I hail from Quebec, which of all of the provinces in Canada, is the closest to a socialist society. All my political views have been shaped by my upbringing here. I happen to think that Canada, for all its numerous problems, is one of the best countries to live in. No, I am not utopic, and nor do I believe that Canada has achieved tolerance, fairness and peace; it just is considerably MORE tolerant, fair and peaceful that 99% other countries in the world. I’m not alone in that belief: we are ranked the 2nd best country to live in, world wide.

It will therefore come as no surprise that I am horrified by Trump’s rise to prominence as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate.  To quote Trevor Noah, from the Daily Show:

When I first started “The Daily Show”, a lot of people asked me the same question: “Are you ready, Trevor? Are you ready for American politics? Are you ready for this election cycle?” But now, seeing all of this shit happen, I think I should’ve asked if YOU were ready, because I’m from a third-world country – It looks like you’re headed to one.”

As a Canadian, looking in, yeah, I agree. I assumed most people would agree. Especially people who come from third world countries.

False assumption #1.

I’m currently spending the week in Denver, for work. Yesterday, my Uber driver was a black immigrant from Kinshasa, Congo. We chatted away in French, both of us relieved to take a break from speaking in English. I learned he’d been in the States for 7 years, and liked it well enough here. I asked him for his take on the election. Imagine my astonishment when he told me that he was, and had been from the start, a Trump supporter, and was 75% confident that Trump would beat Clinton in the general election.

I’d assumed that most black people, having seen how Trump and his supporters act and speak about blacks in America (assuming they weren’t already disgusted by his other comments about Hispanics and Muslims) would not be drawn to him.

False assumption #2.

Behold my Uber driver’s comments. I live texted our convo to one of my friends back home, so the French quotes below are close to verbatim. I’m pretty confident my translation is fair, and conveys his meaning without excessive projection of my own biases.

Trump dit les vraies choses. Le monde n’aiment juste pas entendre la vérité. Prenez par exemple ses propos sur les noirs. Trump n’est pas raciste! Les noirs, ici, vont aux mêmes écoles que les blancs, mais ensuite ne font rien de leur vie, et se plaignent de l’injustice sociale. Ils vivent génération après génération dans la pauvreté et la criminalité et se sentent victimes. Trump, lorsqu’il dit que les noirs n’aiment que la bouffe, les femmes et la paresse, qu’ils sont des fainéants, il n’est pas raciste! Il ne fait qu’observer les vraies choses. Mais les gens s’emportent.

And now – in English:

Trump says things as they are. People just dont like hearing the truth. Take for example his comments about Blacks. Trump isn’t racist! Blacks, here, they go to the same schools as the white folks, but they don’t do anything with their lives, except complain about social injustice. They live generation after generation in poverty, criminality and feel victimized. Trump, when he says that Blacks only like food, women and laziness, that they are slackers, he isn’t being racist! He is just saying what he observes. But people can’t handle what they hear.

Even making allowances for the Immigrant Mentality (my grandparents, and every immigrant I’ve ever known, have it: immigrants work SO HARD to carve a living for themselves in a new country, they often feel slight/moderate contempt for the locals who haven’t succeeded in their home country), WTF, bro. You are black. Have you not seen the news lately? Do you feel NO sympathy for the pervasive, consistent biases against other blacks? White priviledge doesn’t particularly distinguish between African Americans and Immigrant Blacks.

Et pour ceux qui pensent que Trump a un problème avec les femmes, pourquoi? Eh! C’est évident que les hommes peuvent mieux faire certaines jobs que les femmes. Ils sont plus forts, ils sont mieux adaptés pour certains travaux. Eh! C’est normal que cela se traduisent dans des taux salariales différents. Trump, qui juge que l’inéquité salariale n’est pas une priorité, il n’a pas de problème avec les femmes. C’est un businessman! Il comprend l’économie de la chose. Il dit la vérité. Il sait comment faire de l’argent.

Just typing that out makes me so mad, I’m having trouble translating:

As for the people who think that Trump has a problem with women – why? Pffft. It is self-evident that men can better deliver in certain jobs than women. They are stronger, and better adapted for some work. Eh! Obviously, that is going to translate into different wage rates. When Trump says wage inequality isn’t a priority, it isn’t because he has a problem with women… He is a businessman! He understands the underlying economy. He says the truth. He knows how to make money.

Ok, there buddy. I can tell that you have your own issues when it comes to gender roles. But leaving that aside, because clearly a lot of people still have similar issues, or else we wouldn’t still have discussions about the relevance of feminism in our society, TRUMP DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO MAKE MONEY. HOW DOES THIS MYTH STILL PERSIST?!?! Even BEFORE John Oliver’s brilliant piece on Trump, it was a running gag that Trump is a serial bankruptee. PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE EVEN IN CANADA.

You guys, I don’t understand. I don’t get it. Even if you don’t mind his racist comments. Even if you aren’t scared shitless by his approach to international diplomacy (aka, bomb the shit out of anyone who doesn’t let America do whatever the fuck it wants, use nuclear weapons, who cares how many ppl die). Even if you live under a rock, and haven’t noticed that he LIES and CHANGES his opinions ALL THE FUCKING time. Even if you aren’t disgusted by his vulgar, rude, absence of manners – really, America, THAT is who you want to represent you on the international scene? Someone who proudly disregards any concept of etiquette. EVEN IF WE DISREGARD ALL OF THAT…

HE MAKES NO SENSE. He is NOT logical. Basic common sense. The wall? Economically unfeasible.

Now here is the kicker. Here is where I stop breathing, and lose all hope.

All over Facebook, I see people despair about Trump vs Clinton. And I agree – Clinton is not an ideal candidate. She’s slimy and so political. I don’t trust her either. But people then proudly announce they will NOT vote. I even had an acquaintance, who proudly shares all over Fbk his intention to RUN FOR OFFICE, state that if he was living in the USA, he would abstain from voting.

I give up.

If people can’t be bothered to VOTE, to try shape the future of their country and the world, just because they aren’t enamored of their candidates. If people don’t understand that by abstaining, they are giving their CONSENT to the outcome. THEY ARE AN ACCESSORY TO THE FACT.

If the country that is the “biggest defender of democracy” in the world can’t even get its citizens to understand the basics of democracy… it deserves Trump.

We are all gonna die.


Hey, John Oliver! We did it.

None of this would have been possible, without John Oliver. Our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, better acknowledge his debt to the John Oliver Effect in his acceptance speech.

We did it. Bye bye Stephen Harper, hello the return to our Canadian values! And nice hair. Hair is important, y’all. Donald Trump would be taken more seriously if he had Trudeau’s coif.