Of Course There Are Freedom Convoys

Since I am a long way from Canada I can’t very well speak for Canadians. But I get the impression that most Canadians aren’t that happy with the trucker protests in Ottawa and elsewhere. See Majority of Ottawa residents oppose ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest, poll finds.

See also After weekend of protests, Ottawa residents are feeling the effects at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. My impression is most people are way over having their lives disrupted. Businesses have closed, people can’t get to work, it’s a mess. And now I’m reading that “freedom convoys” are starting up in other countries, including Europe.

J.J. McCullough, a Canadian writing in the Washington Post, wrote,

On television and social media, representatives of both the right and left frequently seem to be on the brink of tears when discussing the event, suggesting that in just a few short days the irate convoy has already achieved a totemic importance in Canadian political culture far exceeding technical debates over what exactly the protesters “want” or whether they represent the interests of the broader Canadian trucker community.

In many ways, the protest feels almost exquisitely designed to inflame every current anxiety in the Canadian psyche.

And Gary Mason writes in the Toronto Globe and Mail,

MAGA hats and Trump signs have been ubiquitous at the Freedom Convoy occupation in Ottawa, which has attracted donations and political support from the U.S. One man rode a horse through the downtown streets carrying a flag emblazoned with the word “Trump.” The word ‘freedom’ could be found on most signs being touted by the protesters. For many, it’s a word that has become code for white-identity politics and the far-right’s weapon of choice in the culture wars.

Now even Canada won’t be a safe place to escape to. The Times of Israel reports that the “protesters” have displayed swastikas and Confederate flags also. Yes, swastikas and Confederate flags say so much about vaccination mandates.

Times of Israel photo

I understand a “freedom convoy” is being organized to converge on Washington DC, although I don’t know when. Right now the organizers are upset because their Facebook page was taken down. So sad.

See also Paul Waldman, The American right’s hypocritical embrace of the anti-vaccine Canadian truckers.

Turn on Fox today and you’ll find one host after another — Sean HannityLaura IngrahamTucker Carlson — waxing poetic on the noble cause of the “Freedom Convoy.” This is a group of Canadian truckers who descended on the capital city of Ottawa to protest a requirement that those who cross back and forth over the U.S. border be vaccinated.

Not only have they shut down large portions of the city, but they’ve also been honking their horns at all hours, in an apparent attempt to drive residents out of their minds.

Now Republican politicians are getting into the act: After GoFundMe announced that it would be returning money raised for the truckers, whose ranks include a variety of far-right cranks, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas announced they’d be mounting investigations of the company. And of course, Donald Trump — who as president loved nothing more than sitting in a truck like a big boy — expressed his support for the truckers.

It’s somewhat ironic that DeSantis would come to the defense of these protesters, because in the past he hasn’t looked on the exercise of that particular right with a great deal of sympathy. Last April, he enthusiastically signed a bill that makes it a felony to block traffic in a protest and “grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road,” as the Orlando Sentinel put it.

A similar law passed in Texas, as it has in a number of conservative states. Oklahoma’s version gives drivers both civil and criminal immunity for injuring or killing protesters.

I do have a quibble with this analysis, which is this: The Right is all about punching down. Right-wing “humor” is nearly always aggressive, punching down on women, minorities, and whomever they don’t like. Anger is praised in right-wing white men and deplored as “unhinged” or “dangerous” or “hysteria” in anyone else. Last year I wrote about gun-carrier privilege, which allows people with guns more privilege to claim self-defense than unarmed people they are menacing. And, of course, so far when protesters are run over by car drivers, the driver has been a rightie and the pedestrian was a leftie. Were it reversed, the driver probably wouldn’t be given immunity no matter what the law says. To a wingnut, privilege belongs to the individual in a position of power, whether that power is social, cultural, financial, or who is in a car or has the gun. So yes, it’s hypocritical, but it also fits a long-established pattern.

On the other hand, it seems to me the percentage of the U.S. population that holds this perspective is shrinking. The Ahmaud Arbery verdict seemed to me to be something of a breakthrough, as was the conviction of George Floyd’s killer.

And then, there is the Bigger Asshole rule, . From Stupid Protesting, a Primer, November 2015:

The Bigger Asshole Rule

Effective demonstrations are those that make them look like bigger assholes than us.

It’s important to be clear how mass demonstrations “work.” Demonstrations should be viewed as a form of public relations. The point of them is not to somehow intimidate or change the minds of the people you are protesting. The point is to win public sympathy to your cause. Demonstrations can also be tools for organizing, among other things. But demonstrations are a dangerous tool, because they can just as easily work against you as for you.

The really great mass protest movements — the prototypes are Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement — worked because the public at large sympathized with the protesters. The protesters behaved in a way that demonstrated they were worthy of respect, and the Powers Than Be they were protesting — whether redneck southern sheriffs or the British Empire — behaved like assholes. Eventually it was public sympathy — not the protests themselves —  that forced the Powers That Be to step down.

In short, if your demonstrations don’t win public sympathy, you are shooting yourself in the foot and hurting your cause more than helping it.


Trump supporters take assholery to levels rarely seen before in human history, so there is no way they aren’t going to shoot themselves in all their feet if they go ahead with “freedom convoys.” Bring it.

10 thoughts on “Of Course There Are Freedom Convoys

  1. Yeah, bring it, snowflakes!

    You Kancel Kulture Kings (KKK – what a coinky-dink!) should really copy the Canadian truckers.

    Go right ahead and cut loose any pockets of assholery that you've kept to yourselves – if any – and go hold up traffic in DC.  That'll be a great display of your mighty powers of persuasion!

    The traffic will "persuade" the public of what it kinda knows about you MAGAt types, but doesn't want to say out loud: 

    That you MAGAts and your foul-mouthed "leader" are at levels of assholishness not seen since humans formed social units beyond the atomic, or immediate, family.

    Back then, when a society identified one of their own as being an "ULA (Ultimate Level of Assholery!)," they told this guy that to honor to his magnificence, he gets to be the guy that checks new caves to see if they're occupied by any (hopefully, dangerous) fauna.

    Tell him there is no higher honor than that!

    And no better way to rid your tribe of a vainglorious fuckwit!

    If these idiots do decide to go to DC and block traffic, people from Maine to Minnesota and on down to Florida and the Gulf states will look at them as ULA's!

  2. Just a little point about terminology, I'm black and old enough to remember "Whites Only" signs.  These people aren't "truckers", "anti-vaxxers", "MAGAts", "right wing nutjobs", or "conspiracy enthusiasts".  They are "White Supremacists" pure and simple.  All of the other stuff is just cover stories to make acceptable for middle and upper class white folks to participate without fear of being branded by their peers as flat-out racist. They are no different than the sheriff's department in the small central Virginia tobacco plantation town half of my family came from, who "everyone knew" were also the KKK by night, right through the 70s. 

    I know plenty of black vaccine skeptics, they won't get vaccinated themselves, but they would not even think of running around demanding that no one else does.  And, they absolutely would not associate with anyone like those above.  Perhaps if white liberals/progressives stopped looking at them as kooky misguided fellow white folks and started calling them what they really are, we could start making some progress against them.

  3. Extend the thought – "In short, if your demonstrations don’t win public sympathy, you are … hurting your cause more than helping it."

    The outcome of elections is affected by the turnout of the passionate faithful, but the actual result is usually determined by a fickle, low information segment of non-affiliated citizens. About 13% of voters who voted for Obama also voted for Trump. That's a chunk big enough to swing any presidential election and change control of Congress.

    If this was/is a game of football, the two sides are red and blue and the "ball" is public sympathy. Who has possession of the ball and who is moving it down the field? Trump's not winning any converts from progressives and Biden's not winning over any Trumpsters. The 'movement' is happening with the citizen who's not even sure if he will bother to vote in 2022 (or '24), much less who he’d vote for.  

    These maybe-voters are trying hard not to listen to the screaming from Fox or the caterwauling from MSNBC. Not only do they not care, they do not want to hear about it. (Yeah, these are the voters who will determine the future of the country.) I'd throw democracy under the bus in a second if there was a better system.

    Who's gonna break through to these voters? (Or will nothing break through, and they'll all flip a coin in the voting booth?) Maybe the Trumpsters will become more obnoxious, demanding, bullying, and foul. And violent. (How much sympathy for the 'cause' did the Oklahoma City Bombing do?)  As Trump faces increasing threats in court (National Archives is asking DOJ to investigate at least 15 boxes of files found at Mira Lago this week.) 

    Trump has begun calling for "demonstrations" (I'd say riots.) where he's looking at criminal indictments. I think there will be charges before November and there will be violence. They're asking, "When do we get to use the guns?" Once Trump is charged, he will say, "Now!"  Matt Gaetz will say, "Me too!" when he gets charged. MTG wil parade with her AR-15. And they will. Who, where, and how many fatalities/injuries, no one can guess.  Maybe, this will break through. Voters who could not distinguish between progressives and Nazis will take a side. 

    OT – I have a question. Suppose Trump is charged. He will delay and try to stir up such civil unrest as will force the charges to be dropped. (Won't happen – regardless of how much damage they do.) Will Trump stay for a trial, taking a chance of real jail time if he's found guilty? Or if/when Trump sees that a trial WILL happen, will he decide to build Trump Tower Moscow and stay there? I'm serious – I do not think Trump will risk being cuffed and put behind bars.  He can't hide where there's extradition. That leaves a very short list of countries. 

    • How much sympathy for the cause did the Oklahoma City bombing accomplish is a good question.  Are we not dealing with something other than a demonstration but more like terrorist tactics?  Terrorism has been a difficult to define word, but I think the notion of actions which create distress are more acts of terrorism while demonstrations are more actions which create sympathy for one's plight.  As these truckers are causing distress with road blockages and horn honking, they are acting more like terrorists than demonstrators.  So too, the 1/6 actors seemed to mix terror tactics to the extent that the word 'demonstrators' does not work in defining their actions and, as such, not a legitimate expression of free speech.   What we have here is more a Trucker Tantrum and needs to have a label closer to what it really is.  Demonstrations have rules of conduct, tantrums do not.


  4. Media reports this morning are that Homeland Security is saying they are getting information that a 'Trucker Convoy' is being planned for Sunday in Los Angeles for the Super Bore Game.

    If Sunday reporting indicates it will happen, I may even watch part of the Super Bore to hear if the truck horns can disrupt the football game.  That would do wonders for national support for the disrupters if the American sheeple can't hear the game broadcast;  although the commercials will be just fine without disruptions.

  5. Reporting yesterday was that since PayPal stopped collecting funds for the disrupters, a 'Christian' funding site opened and collected more than $6 million in the first 2 days with the bulk of it being very large amounts.

    I won't point you to that 'Christian' site so you will have find it yourself if you want to help show your working class support by donating $100K or so.

  6. BTW (& Very OT), and definitely on the QT:


    We can't afford to ignore yesterday's warning from the Official House Idiot, Maggie Taylor Green (R – Sibling Schtupp, GA)!!!

    She said that Nancy Pelosi, the Soup Nazi of the House, is sending out her Gazpacho Police to round-up people who speak out too much.

    I wonder where they send the people?  I mean, after the Gazpacho gets done torturing them, and then turns them over to the local Vichyssoise Gendarmes.

    I've heard they've built Ghoulashes all over the countryside where they send those poor, poor souls.

    How sad. 

    Tragic, even. 

    But say nothing!  Otherwise, I'll

    c u n d ghoulash.


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