Tell 'Em Rand And Ted Invited You
Anomie is well and truly taking over the West-- and just as Russia gears up for war! As we noted earlier, Senator Rand Paul expressed his hope that a "Freedom Convoy" of right-wing racists, anti-vaxxers and malcontents "clog up" American cities too. "I’m all for it. Civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition in our country, from slavery to civil rights to you name it. Peaceful protest, clog things up, make people think about the mandates. I hope the truckers do come to America, and I hope they clog up cities." OK fine, I hope the truckers start defecating in the streets of Cherokee Gardens, Highland Douglas, Belnap, Deer Park and Bowman in Louisville. Truckers, Rand Paul welcomes you to Florence, Union, Fort Mitchell, Fort Wright, Edgewood, Hillview. Come on down... and blast your horns all day and all night... and crap all over the manicured lawns. How about 2 weeks in each place? Did I mention Villa Hills? Independence? These are Rand Paul's towns, the ones that keep in office. I'm sure the fine burghers would welcome you, one and all.
And today wasn't the first time, Senator Paul tried luring the right-wing truckers to U.S. cities. Last Monday, Rolling Stone reported that Paul and another extremist psychopath, Arizona state Senator and Trump ally, Wendy Rogers, were urging trucker action, although both were urging the truckers to disrupt the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Jack Crosbie wrote that "Analysts watching right-wing chatter on apps like Telegram have recently seen an outpouring of organizing around direct actions similar to Canada’s trucker protests, which spread from the Ottawa occupation to large disruptive actions across the country, including at a border crossing to the U.S. in Alberta. In particular, some right wingers seem to be plotting to shut down the Super Bowl this weekend. Trump megafan and Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers took up that mantle yesterday, giving us this particularly bizarre take:
Rogers is a fringe figure, deep in the far right, but there are signs that the “trucker protest” model is rapidly catching on with more mainstream conservatives. Here’s Rand Paul, often one of the main gateways of the idiocy exchange between the far right and GOP mainstream:
The sentiment seems to be spreading fast, but it seems doubtful that the right would be able to mobilize anything significant in time for the Super Bowl next weekend, according to Jared Holt, a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab who studies right-wing movements.
“The desire to provide an American answer to the Canadian protests and cause havoc and headaches is completely there,” Holt told Rolling Stone. “What isn’t, at this point, is a clear plan and call to action.”
Holt noted on Twitter that some of the familiar spokes of right-wing organizing are already there-- media networks are covering the trucker protests favorably, groups are starting to discuss or solicit financing for some form of action, and many of the groups have large numbers of members. But there’s no one narrative or specific action that has taken hold in the way that the right rallied at in Washington, D.C., last Jan. 6, or during Charlottesville’s Unite the Right event.
“If organizers are able to speak over that frenzy with a clear plan to action, there may be a potential to generate a similar event, though I’m skeptical of its ability to capture the same scale it did in Canada,” Holt said. “Maybe most importantly, it’s not totally clear that American truckers are actually ready or willing to do this.”
In other words, we’ll have to hope that America’s truckers are more responsible behind the wheel than the ones currently honking their horns in Canada’s capital.
David Frum, a Canadian, warned Atlantic readers that the Canadian blockades are a warning. For one, thing, he noted, "If a crackdown on protesters goes bad, the negative consequences may not be confined to the country." Crackdowns going wrong, though, is exactly what Trump, Elon Musk, Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis are hoping for. Blood in the streets is what they crave so they can blame it on Biden. Let's hope the streets with the blood are in Palm Beach, Longboat Key, Sanibel, Lake Mary and Belle Isle. And let's not forget Indian Creek, the most perfect place for a truck convoy in the U.S. "The truck-blockade movement that started in Canada," wrote Frum, "is being mimicked in New Zealand, France and Belgium. U.S. law enforcement is bracing for somebody to try something similar south of the border on Super Bowl Sunday, of all holy days. Much of the money donated in support of the Canadian protests has been raised internationally, especially in the United States. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and presidential son Donald Trump Jr. are only some of the Republicans who have voiced support for the protesters. The style and symbolism of this event, too, seem strangely nonlocal. One of the most photographed movements of the protests has been a man on horseback hoisting a Trump 2024 flag in downtown Ottawa. Confederate flags and MAGA hats have been adopted into a global library of anti-establishment iconography."
The blockades are very much a rogue movement. They have been condemned by the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Canada’s Teamsters Union. About 90 percent of Canadian truck drivers are vaccinated; comparatively few of those protesting are professional truck drivers. The protesters are not anti-lockdown. They are anti-vaccination. The spark for the protests was a requirement that truckers be vaccinated to cross the U.S.-Canada border. This is not a movement of “working class” protesters against remote, affluent elites. The burden of the protests has fallen on Ottawa residents, whose streets have been paralyzed, and Canadian autoworkers, who face factory shutdowns because of cross-border disruptions.
About 32 percent of Canadians express broad sympathy with the protests. That’s not popularity, but it’s not crippling unpopularity either. Justin Trudeau is Canada’s prime minister on the strength of 32.6 percent of the votes cast in the 2021 federal election. And although the most obnoxious acts of the protesters have provoked almost universal revulsion, it’s by no means clear that they will ultimately lose this trial of political strength. Voters everywhere expect governments to keep order, and if governments cannot or will not do the job, the people in charge of those governments will pay the political price. There may not be a lot of room for the truckers’ popularity to rise. There’s a lot of room for Trudeau’s popularity to fall. This drama is unfolding on Ottawa streets, framed on television screens by the skyline of the Canadian federal Parliament. Canadians will not blame the chief of the Ottawa police force if the blockades continue. They will not blame the Ontario provincial police, or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or the provincial premiers. It’s the authority of the national government that is being challenged-- it is the national economy that is being disrupted-- and it’s the head of the national government to whom Canadians will look for a resolution. If Trudeau does not or cannot deliver that resolution, he will pay the price.
This crisis may be building to something truly dangerous. Trudeau has to act, but Canada may lack the means to act effectively and decisively enough to end the protests without harm to protesters or police. A big show of force may persuade protesters to return home quietly. A not-so-big show may tempt them to resist and see what happens. The province of Ontario will reportedly introduce emergency legislation today. That could test the issue.
If a crackdown goes bad in Canada, the negative consequences may not be confined to the country. The truck disruptions have shocked Canadians because Canada is generally an extremely law-abiding place. To a great extent, Canada still is law-abiding: When a court ordered the truck protesters to cease blaring their horns, the horn-blaring ceased. If the practice of using trucks as rolling fortifications were to spread south of the border, however, it could mobilize American protesters, who are less law-compliant than their Canadian counterparts.
Politically motivated violence in America has been on the rise in the past half-dozen years: the riots and looting in U.S. cities after Floyd’s murder; the takeover of a portion of Portland, Oregon, by left-wing militants; the attempted kidnapping of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer by anti-pandemic-restrictions extremists, all preceding the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol-- and whatever comes next.
Maybe this latest form of performative intimidation is only being road tested in Ottawa. It could be coming to American cities soon.