DC Version of Canada Truck Protests a Dud

The plans to replicate the chaos in the Great White North are not coming together.

Daily Beast (“‘People’s Convoy’ Truckers Are Still Very Confused About Their D.C. Plans“):

Hundreds of truckers and thousands of people from across the country gathered at a small speedway nearly an hour and a half outside the nation’s capital on Friday night, as “the People’s Convoy” nears the end of its cross-country voyage in protest of COVID-19 mandates.

But, on the eve of the truckers’ final leg, confusion was almost as thick as the mix of diesel and cigarette smoke billowing through the air at the Hagerstown raceway. No one could say exactly what they were doing next: Would they drive into D.C., occupy the National Mall, or just clog up the circular Beltway?

Ahead of an 8 p.m. ET rally, truckers who spoke with The Daily Beast all had different ideas on their Saturday plans, and no one knew who was in charge of the overall convoy or what exactly they would be doing come morning as they headed in the direction of D.C.

Jim Worthington—the owner of a 10-truck fleet stationed in Buffalo, New York—said he brought five of his trucks on the trip out of “frustration” and insisted the nation is in a “state of emergency.”

As for what he plans to do Saturday morning, he said there was discussion about partaking in a rally on the National Mall, where truckers would “occupy” the city.

“There was a permit allocated for the National Mall, so we would go down and occupy D.C.,” he told The Daily Beast, adding that he does not intend to “block roads.”

Another trucker from Connecticut, Frank Karatkizcz, proposed a different idea: Instead of truckers going to D.C., he encouraged lawmakers to make a trip out to the small Maryland city to see them.

“Want senators and congressmen to come listen,” Karatkizcz said, proposing that The People’s Convoy leadership, which continues to operate behind the curtains, should meet directly with members of Congress. “We want to be heard.”

Karatkizcz suggested that entering D.C. with nearly 200 long-haul trucks in tow was a possibility—but made it clear that creating “turmoil” wasn’t his goal.

While entering D.C. was very much on the table for many truckers, another convoy member told The Daily Beast that he felt even going near the Capital Beltway was a “trap.”

“We know it’s a trap,” Connecticut-based trucker Marvin Cote told The Daily Beast.

He went on to claim that being near the Beltway could expose truckers to arrest, citing actions taken against fellow drivers in Ottawa, Canada, during their own weeks-long illegal demonstration. “This whole thing is a trap. We already know this!”

He continued, “We have to wait and see what’s on the board from the powers to be.” But when asked who he believed to be in charge, Cote couldn’t answer.

“You notice how Russia was blowing out,” Cote said. “Russia is the distraction for what is going on here!”

Despite truckers saying otherwise, on the convoy’s website, the semi-organized group claims: “We are NOT going into DC proper.” Other convoys that have been trailing the lead convoy, including the “Convoy 4 Freedom” and the “Freedom Convoy,” haven’t made it clear whether or not they intend to actually enter the city.

NBC News reported Friday that Freedom Convoy organizer Dan Fitzegerald has told supporters that “there will be select trucks going to the White House.”

A man who identified himself as one of the People’s Convoy’s 30 organizers declined to give his name to The Daily Beast and also refused to comment on their plans for Saturday. But another self-identified organizer, John Blazek, said, “Yes, that’s the plan,” when asked if the convoy intends to enter D.C. proper on Saturday.

Ten days ago, it looked very much like the “Freedom Convoy” was coming to DC. As it would have potentially snarled my daily commute, I paid rapt attention as it unfolded. Day after day, it seemed to be stalling out. The gang coming from Pennsylvania—which is only a two-hour drive—got cold feet. The convoy from California only made it as far as Las Vegas. “Tens of thousands” were expected. We seem to be down to dozens.

At one point, the rally was going to involve the State of the Union address. That’s already passed.

More fundamentally, the protest was ostensibly about mask mandates and vaccine requirements. The CDC pretty much ended the former a week ago and federal judges have more-or-less ended the latter.

And, rather clearly, while there are a lot of people frustrated by a lot of things at the moment, there aren’t all that many interested in getting arrested over it. C’est la vie.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Yeah, that fake news of Russia invading Ukraine exposed the valiant fight to impose their entitlement on others, for what it really is.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    Like so many trumpers, they have the mentality, intellect and grievances of a sulky 13 year old boy. These people are just embarrassing.

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  3. Stormy Dragon says:

    Probably didn’t help that most of their funding was cut off this week by the Russia sanctions

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Some people have a real talent for looking extraordinarily silly.

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  5. CSK says:

    Sounds like as big a success as the exquisitely-named Bob Bolus’s Truck Convoy.

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  6. gVOR08 says:

    Protesting mask rules that no longer exist and vaccine mandates the Supremes have blocked. So much of RW anger is just performative nonsense.

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  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:
    Everything is performative. It’s the age we live in. People aren’t living their lives, they’re performing their lives. Many even have their own wardrobe department – Antifa black with kneepads and motorcycle helmets, MAGA ‘tactical’ costumes with bear spray and zip ties. Everyone has learned how to spew outrage into a camera. People have learned to express themselves in only the most extreme ways, playing at being Nazis or Communists, communicating by meme and hashtag.

    Meanwhile in the real world Russians are murdering Ukrainians.

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  8. CSK says:

    Apparently they’ve canceled their plan to go to D.C. and have decided to hold an all-day rally at the Hagerstown Speedway, which is 80 miles outside of the U.S. capital.

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  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “You notice how Russia was blowing out,” Cote said. “Russia is the distraction for what is going on here!”

    Wow! The needle on my cognitive dissonance meter just snapped off completely and blew the cover off the gauge. No self-esteem problems for that guy. Fer sher.

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  10. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    That made me laugh out loud.

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  11. Mister Bluster says:

    “Russia is the distraction for what is going on here!”

    Trucking moron…

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  12. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Everyone has learned how to spew outrage into a camera. People have learned to express themselves in only the most extreme ways, playing at being Nazis or Communists, communicating by meme and hashtag.

    Meanwhile in the real world Russians are murdering Ukrainians.

    You inadvertently make a very good case for encouraging performance in our political extremes. Civil war LARPing is annoying, but better than the alternative.

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  13. Gustopher says:

    He went on to claim that being near the Beltway could expose truckers to arrest, citing actions taken against fellow drivers in Ottawa, Canada, during their own weeks-long illegal demonstration. “This whole thing is a trap. We already know this!”

    Ah, yes, the famous trap of having laws that you might enforce.

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  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    It is certainly better to have extremists grabbing their hashtags instead of their guns.

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It is certainly better to have extremists grabbing their hashtags instead of their guns.

    Indeed. And I hope it stays performative and online.

    Because I’m not depressed enough over Ukraine I’ve been reading “How Civil Wars Start”. The author, Barbara Walter, cites what the CIA listed as steps leading to civil war:
    – Pre-insurgency, “a group begins to identify a set of common grievances and build a collective identity around a gripping narrative—the story or myth that helps them rally supporters and justify their actions. – The militias forming in the 90s.
    – incipient conflict, discrete acts of violence. – McVeigh as a precursor. 1/6. Intended to attract attention and build support.
    – Open insurgency, sustained violence.

    The second stage, incipient combat, often leads to larger, more violent acts intended to trigger a violent response from the government. We aren’t there yet. But I’m not confident the people who foment and fund things like the truck convoy won’t escalate, hoping to get their dupes shot at. One dupe did get shot on 1/6 and they’ve tried to make her a martyr.

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  16. James Joyner says:

    @gVOR08: And, alas, there’s not a voice on the subject I trust more than Walter. She’s been a first-rate scholar for decades and is decidedly not prone to polemic.

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  17. Not the IT Dept. says:

    There’s a great article in The Guardian about this: you see, the war on Ukraine was set up to distract everyone’s attention from the DC Clownvoy. There is no medication in the world strong enough to deal with this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/27/america-peoples-convoy-trucker-protest

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  18. Dutchgirl says:

    Have we coincidentally protected our elections and defunded astroturf protests with the Russian sanctions?

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  19. senyordave says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: So Putin is part of the deep state? Now that is truly a new one.

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  20. CSK says:

    @senyordave:
    Bite your tongue. Trump and Putin are fighting the Deep State.

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  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: We all contribute what we have available to advance the conversation.

    ReplyReply

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