Sunday, February 06, 2022


Late last month, Andrew Lawrence of Media Matters tweeted this:

There may be something else just before the midterms, but I think I know what will be the next thing the right-wing media turns into the #1 story in America: a U.S. version of the Canadian truck blockade. (I prefer to call it a "blockade" rather than a "convoy.")

The right has already figured out how to exploit errors by The Enemy (i.e., everyone who isn't right-wing) to turn the truck-driving aggressors into victims. Here's a story from Fox Business:
Facing a potential fraud investigation by the state of Florida, GoFundMe reversed a decision to redistribute money given by thousands of donors to the Canadian "Freedom Convoy" protesting COVID-19 regulations.

On Friday, the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe froze the convoy's official campaign, claiming law enforcement convinced the company that the convoy had become violent and unlawful.

GoFundMe encouraged donors to submit a refund form, and said that any funds not properly returned to donors would be donated to a charity chosen by the Freedom Convoy.

Within hours, however, GoFundMe walked back the refund applications, instead announcing it would be refunding donors automatically.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that he would "investigate" the company, accusing them of fraud.

See what DeSantis did there? Even Fox acknowledges that GoFundMe encouraged donors to seek refunds and promised to give unrequested funds to a charity of the truckers' choosing -- and then said it would begin refunding all donations. But DeSantis said GoFundMe wanted to "commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing," and what he said seems close to the truth, so no one will call him on the fact that it's exactly the opposite of the truth. (Texas attorney general Ken Paxton also said he planned to announce a fraud investigation, according to the Fox story.)

Right-wingers know how to exploit moments like this -- remember how they pounced when Democrat Terry McAuliffe said during the Virginia governor's race, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach"? GoFundMe is now guilty of elitism, jackbooted thuggery, yada yada yada.

The blockaders are shutting down streets and intimidating people who live in downtown Ottawa.
While there were no serious injuries or uncontrolled violence associated with the demonstrations over the past week, they have nevertheless paralyzed Ottawa’s downtown core with traffic, noise and complaints of harassment.

“I’m receiving hundreds — and I’m not exaggerating — hundreds of emails telling me: ‘I went out to get groceries, I got yelled at, I got harassed. I got followed down the street, I’m so afraid that I can’t go out,’” Catherine McKenney, the city councilor for the area, said Thursday afternoon.
But right-wingers are excellent at claiming victim status while engaging in intimidation. Remember how they intimidated mask-wearers at school board meetings ("You can leave freely, but we will find you and we know who you are"), then claimed law enforcement concern about this and similar threats was "weaponizing the Department of Justice" to go after "concerned parents"?

Is this coming to America? You bet. Here's the story from Land Line, "Official Media of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association."
As plans for the Convoy to D.C. 2022 to protest vaccination mandates are being finalized, organizers publicly released the mission statement of the group.

After being booted from Facebook on Feb. 1, the group launched a new page on the platform as well as on Telegram. Their mission statement was posted to Telegram on Feb. 2.

“Americans love our freedoms and love the Constitution of the United States of America. This convoy aims to bring back our freedoms, our civil liberties and bring an end to all unconstitutional mandates. This is about our rights, as well as the freedom of future generations. It’s not about political parties, but more so about a government that has forgotten its place and has no regard for our founding fathers’ instructions, the Constitution,” the Telegram post states....

The group still has not publicly announced its routes other than to say that the convoy will originate from multiple locations in California along with convoys originating in other locations in Texas, Florida and Maine. Ultimately, the convoys will converge in Washington, D.C.

Organizers have also stated that they are not staging convoys or protests at the Super Bowl or at Facebook’s headquarters.

The timing of the convoy has also yet to be announced other than Telegram posts saying it would be happening “soon.”

Brian Brase, one of the organizers of Convoy to D.C. 2022, told Land Line on Feb. 2 that the group did set a deadline of March 1.

“If it doesn’t happen before then, it will happen March 1,” he told Land Line.
My guess is that Democrats are completely unprepared for this. I assume that when it happens, most Democratic candidates and officeholders will agree that they simply shouldn't talk about it -- much better to talk about infrastructure or health care affordability, while completely ignoring the story that's leading the news every night.

Nevertheless, someone will say a somewhat wrong thing about the blockaders and that will be the story -- not the fact that the blockaders close streets, intimidate people, and oppose public health measures in the midst of a pandemic that's still killing more than a thousand Americans a day.

It's all foreseeable. Democrats should get ready for this now. But they won't.

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