A Canadian’s Guide To Understanding How Donald Trump Made It This Far

I know, I know. *already shaking my damn head*

After much deliberation, I’m adding my opinion of the 2016 US election to the growing pile. At this point, you’re probably even more sick of it than I am, and won’t want to keep reading.

I don’t blame you. But hang on for a moment longer.

I’m not here to make a list of everything wrong with Donald Trump – you’ve already been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.

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No, not this one

I’m here to set a few records straight, because as a former American living in Canada, I’ve been getting some inquiries:

“How is anything Trump even says sounding good to Americans??”

“Are evangelicals *really* the majority of his voters??”

“Just…why?????

They deserve some answers, and even though I’m just one woman with little to no understanding of how politics works, I’m here to share what I see.

1. Many American people suffer from a major spirit of poverty.

I’m not just talking about poor and homeless people, which it sadly has plenty of – I’m talking about people who have enough, but don’t know it. With some of the largest records in credit card debt, workaholic standards, food waste, welfare, obesity, environmental hazards and privilege in the world, Americans are drowning in the pool of Too Much & Not Enough. And the fear that one day everything they hold dear will be taken away from them is firmly in the driver’s seat.

2. Many American people have been blaming immigrants and citizens of different skin colours alike for the state the country is in, for years.

Most of us can admit, looking back, that the whole enslavement of black people leading up to the Civil War was pretty wrong. (In fact, the enslavement of any people group in any point of history is pretty wrong.) We’re thankful for people like Abraham Lincoln who helped abolish that law; we remember his assassination still.

So why are the KKK still in action? Why is the Confederate flag such a sacred cow that no one had better speak against? Why are people being shot down in the streets daily because of how they look?

Because you can abolish a law, but it doesn’t change a person’s heart. Your mom can *make* you apologize for punching your brother, and you can say it well enough to appease all parties involved, but maybe your fingers were crossed and you can’t wait to punch him again when no one’s looking – because only you know how much the little punk is really asking for it.

There’s a movie from the late 90’s called American History X. It’s focused in L.A., on the gang wars between multiple races and a white supremacist neo-Nazi group, and two brothers caught in between.

It’s disturbing, eye-opening, horrifying, violent – and I believe it should be required viewing for every university-age person on the planet.

It has challenged me multiple times, seeing how subtly deep the levels of racism go, mixed with a prominent attitude of “I’m a good, hardworking white American, so if anything bad happens to me, it’s definitely the fault of that guy over there! America was so much better before people like him came here.”

Sound familiar?

3. Many Americans identify as Evangelical or Christian in census and survey, without even realizing what those words imply.

I mean, you’re not an atheist or a pagan or *shudder* a Muslim, right? Your hardworking, white American ancestors that *ahem* emigrated over on the Mayflower raised you better than that. And you definitely were in church at least twice this year, so put a little ✔ next to that Evangelical box and you’re good til next time.

4. And sometimes, in a perfect clusterf*ck, all of these attitudes collide in the same people.

They are the ones voting for Donald Trump.

And why not? Finally, after EIGHT YEARS of having to deal with a president who’s black and probably secretly a Muslim, here comes a successful white guy who is promising you more money and less immigrants – all under the banner of your Evangelical flag. He gets you. He knows what you need, and he isn’t afraid to speak it out boldly, like a kid in a candy store who’s never heard the word “no.”

Except, PSYCH! He owns the candy store, and now you can never leave because he’s going to feed you sugar until you die.

Whether he completely believes everything he says or not, he knows you’re ripe for the picking.

All of it bums me out, but highest on the list is how the label of Evangelical has been dragged into it.

JESUS WOULDN’T VOTE FOR DONALD, MMKAY?!

Somewhere deep down, I’m sure Jesus loves Donald as much as he does the rest of us, but even he has to admit the man is batshit crazy.

Jesus wants a government of justice and peace for ALL, not just the hardworking, white American. His heart breaks every time one of his children is gunned down in the street again, no matter what color their skin is. He designed that skin. He knows every scar inside and out, and he says you are enough.

That’s what I believe with my whole heart; that’s the Jesus I know.

But if you don’t know that, then it makes sense that you would see the label Evangelical Christian and automatically brace yourselves to meet another asshole like Trump.

And sometimes, honestly, we are. But some of us are trying our hardest to show the difference.

I hope you see it, I hope it gives YOU hope, and I hope that the next 8 months will go by quickly and painlessly.

Goodness, can I have some fries and gravy with that cheese? Canadian OWT.

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Now it’s time for your Weekend(s) Update! with…

….NOT Seth Myers! Soh-ry.

I may not have a Drunk Uncle or a Stefano waiting in the wings to keep the laughs going, but I do have some pretty awesome stories to share with ya’ll.

We at the Button residence have had not one, not two, but THREE epic weekends in a row. And it’s not over yet. But that’s another story.

May 11/Mother’s Day – Weekend #1

Did you know that sometimes I get overly ambitious with a single idea in my head, that I MUST see it through until something dies or explodes? It all started with an innocent little grocery shopping trip to Wal-Mart – sometimes, that’s all it takes.
I had managed to go through the whole store without wanting or buying anything for myself, but when we got to the check-out line, I found it waiting for me. A Wal-Mart Special Cupcake Recipe Magazine, for $6.00. Six bucks! For such crisp pages and pictures of Strawberry Blossom Cupcakes I coud practically taste! In that moment, I decided that I was going to become a cupcake-maker extraordinaire TODAY. Because fast approaching was my friend M’s birthday party in Vancouver AND my first Mother’s Day with a mother-in-law who deserves treats! Time was of the essence!
Except for a few key elements: my dear M not only likes to live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle by choice, but she needs gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free food by necessity. After some communications with her fiancee about possible baking replacements, I was more determined than ever to make sure that she got at least ONE real cupcake on her birthday.

This is when I learned that Langley grocery shops are really dumb.

After hunting all day for the elusive egg replacer (no, Safeway, NOT egg substitute, which still features egg white as a main ingredient!), I finally decided to just use almond milk and suffer the humiliation of really flat cupcakes.

Oh, did I forget to mention that M really, really REALLY loves Hello Kitty? And did I also forget to mention that I decided to take 12 cupcakes and make them into a Hello Kitty face?
So with a help of a Betty Crocker gluten-free vanilla cupcake mix, almond milk, a little food colouring, some ziploc bags and my indomitable sister-in-law, this is what M got:

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Yeah. Saw it so clearly in my head and yet the execution is not stellar. Good word, execution.

But because M is adorable and lovely and sees a treasure in just about anything, she chose to not be frightened by this display of Kitty-ness, instead celebrating that she briefly had another member in her Hello Kitty figure collection before nomming them all up.

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And the attempt at making the Strawberry Blossoms for Mum mostly rested on my sister, so they were lovely and fine. They too were all nommed up while we sat on the couch, feeling like we should be sobbing into our napkins watching Safe Haven but weren’t.

May 17-20th, Road Trip + Wedding + Exhaustion All Around, Weekend #2

Actually, let me back up. This epic weekend began on a Thursday, with a trip to the Yoo-Ess-of-Aye! Let me back up even further.

Two of my dear friends are getting married in Smithers at the end of June. The bride’s family (and one of my dear adopted families) is originally from the States as I am.
As we all know, Canada is the best. But when it comes to food options and financial availability, I have to say the US wins. So when the Bride’s mother asked us to go on a Special Mission to locate and secure 2 cases of Gardetto’s (a very tasty mix of chips and pretzels) that can only be acquired over the border, we suited up and said, “Yes, ma’am!” Since we were getting ready to go to another wedding in Prince George on the 18th, and since the Gardetto-needing Bride and her Mother were going to be in PG on the same weekend, we decided that the only day we could complete this mission was Thursday, in order to make the drop. (Yes, we take our self-appointed name of Agent Button very seriously around here.)

In four hours, we were in and out. It’s a good thing; if we had stayed any longer, I probably would have tried to make a Super Swamp Water Drink with the touch-screen display pop dispenser and let myself eat more than just a sample of that heaven-on-earth known as Cinnabon. Almighty Land of Everything that is Cheap and Ultimately Not Good for You, I wish I could quit you.

Fast-forward: the road trip itself was pretty normal; we were accompanied by our pretty cool friend Eric, who actually kind of forced me to play Zelda: The Ocarina of Time on the DS for the first time. Ever. As in, I had no idea what I was doing, and those skeletons that tried to rape me multiple times in the family tomb will scar me until the day I die.

Honestly, this weekend was such a blur. A great, big, wonderful blur. We saw two awesome friends commit to one another for life…visited like 30 friends we hadn’t seen in 8 months…ate and drank non-stop as a result…caught the new Star Trek (MOAR BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH AND ZACHARY QUINTO PLS)…and just generally became zombies by the time we had to drive back on Monday. It was awesome. Thanks for still being home, PG. ❤

May 25th, Where I Was the Only Girl at a Bachelor Party, Weekend #3

You know, when I started this blog like an hour ago, this is the weekend I wanted to talk about because it JUST happened. Everything else kind of evolved from that. If you’re still with me, thanks for staying. It’s almost over, and the most epic is yet to come. (Let the length of this blog remind me that I need to write more frequently!)

Okay. So. Where do I begin?

A couple of weeks ago, some guys from our church asked Steve if he would be willing to join their cover band as part of a surprise bachelor party. As I’ve written here before, Steve is quite the guitarist and people are starting to figure it out. Thank you, people.

Anyways, Steve said yes, and he started learning at least 10 songs by Weezer. Now, I know of Weezer, have maybe listened to two of his songs on the radio – but now I know more about him than I ever have in my entire life. He’s not half bad!

As time passed, I learned more of what this cover band entailed: these guys wanted to learn the songs in secret, have the groom show up on his bachelor party day to do a “Weezer Jam”, have a great time, send him on his way – and then the REAL surprise was that they booked a gig spot at the Richmond Night Market at 10:30pm, to do an hour-set of Weezer covers featuring the groom as the lead guitarist and vocalist. (Apparently Weezer has two guitarists, hence why they needed Steve to help.) The groom would learn of “his concert” maybe 10 minutes before he was supposed to go on. How awesome and freaky is that?!

Saturday arrived. Steve and I borrowed the work van from Dad to load up all the instruments for the rehearsal in the afternoon, plus taking it out to the Night Market later that evening.

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Roadies have a very intense job. New appreciation for respect and roadies, here.

Rehearsal time! After I helped set up, I ducked out to sit in the van until it was over. I was tired and figured I would hear all the good stuff later.
Half an hour went by, and Steve found me. “You should come back and listen, we’re going through it again!”

So there I was, rocking out and enjoying the fact that, soon, my ears would no longer be able to hear anything else ever again. However, things quickly got…interesting.

I was there, they were playing Weezer, everyone was wearing clothing.

I went to the bathroom.

I came back, they were playing a rock version of “Bootylicious” by Beyonce, the bass player was shirtless, and he was definitely giving Queen B a run for her money in the dance moves department.

At this point, I realized: I am only the girl at a bachelor party, and it’s only 5 in the afternoon. What else am I in for?

I was not even a little bit prepared.

To be continued….