Inspired by the Canadian truckers protesting COVID rules, a crew of aggrieved drivers have schlepped from California to D.C. to do … not much of anything, really.
If you live in or around Washington, D.C., you already know that traffic on the Beltway sucks. If you don’t live in or around Washington, D.C., you probably also already know that traffic on the Beltway sucks, if only because people who do live there simply cannot shut the hell up about it. And yet, somehow, the organizers of the so-called “People’s Convoy” of truckers who schlepped all the way from California in a slapdash attempt to emulate their (white nationalism infused) Canadian counterparts were evidently unaware of just how bad Beltway traffic is — or how much people in D.C. truly do not give a shit about their whole thing.
The movement was inspired by the “Freedom Convoy” that temporarily brought parts of Ottawa to a standstill last month, with truckers — a number of whom had deep roots in white nationalist and racist movements — protesting Canada’s COVID vaccine laws by laying siege to the Canadian parliament until police finally cleared the truckers’ makeshift camp from the area. But since arriving in southern Maryland this past weekend and merging with a number of other, equally haphazard efforts, the People’s Convoy participants in the U.S. have managed to somehow achieve none of their ill-defined demands regarding mask and vaccination laws, most of which were already in the process of being pulled back across the country anyway.
The whole thing has been a comedy of errors, with the movement stymied by a combination of basic traffic and an even more basic disinterest-cum-annoyance from the very people the group is targeting with their stunt. Unlike their Canadian inspiration, the D.C. convoy hasn’t managed to shut down traffic, or the city, and has instead only slowed small portions of the Beltway’s already abysmally lousy stretch of freeway. In fact, the whole thing has been such a sloppy flop so far that organizers are now debating whether to jam local 911 call centers with complaints about how much Beltway drivers don’t like them — hardly a sign of the sort of strength in unity and grassroots populism the convoy had initially set out to demonstrate.
They did at least get to air some complaints about gas prices and spread their general MAGA-tinged dissatisfaction with the standard slate of conservative bugbears and conspiracy theories though.
Yet despite the general air of ineffectiveness, there was enough gas in the convoy’s engines (ha ha ha) to attract the attention of some of the GOP’s most shameless self-promoters, who descended like vultures on carrion to bask in the spotlight highlighting this astroturfed populist enterprise.
Because nothing quite says “man of the people” like a senator who graduated from Harvard and Princeton and is married to the managing director of Goldman Sachs cosplaying as a long haul trucker, right?
It’s hard to say what, exactly, the convoy has achieved, or what they might be is in a position to accomplish moving forward. For now, it seems, “driving around in a circle” is not just the group’s tactic, but a metaphor for this whole pointless exercise, too.