Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Some reflections on the 'Freedom Convoy'

I have tried three times to write this blog. One of the efforts ran to seventeen paragraphs before I killed it. 

I am angry. I am, in fact, righteously PISSED. 

Not near as angry as the people in this convoy are, however. And that, too, pisses me off. Because THEIR anger is so pointless, and the way they are choosing to express it is so infantile, and all of a sudden there is a huge wave of misinformation. It all feels so very....American

That's because a lot of it is.

I thought we had four or maybe eight years before the rot to our south migrated up here. I thought wrong. It's here now and growing.

We were originally told the reason behind the convoy was the U.S.'s insistence that truckers crossing the border into their country be vaccinated. I guess they went to Ottawa because they wouldn't be allowed to go to Washington, D.C.? But then we were told the real issue was broader: they demanded that all covid restrictions be lifted immediately. Not sure why they didn't go to Toronto (initially) as health care is a PROVINCIAL responsibility in this country. 

Then we were told why they went to Ottawa: to overthrow the government. 

As I have said many times, I don't like Justin Trudeau or his Liberals, and I wish he wasn't still PM. That does not mean I support anyone who wants a kudetah. That's not how democracy works. 

Ottawa has endured twelve days and counting of utter hell. I was initially quite sympathetic to the Ottawa Police Service, because they were faced with an enormous task: convince 8,000 people to get the hell out of your city, but don't be heavyhanded about it. When the chief threw up his hands after trying....nothing, get to wondering. As this gentleman notes, he observed no arrests where there certainly should have been. As of February 7, the crowd was largely friendly, but with a distinct hard edge to it. If he had shown himself in any way not to support the convoy, I have no doubt he would have been eaten alive, and to his credit, he makes that point himself. 

The police are finally starting to do something. They have announced they will arrest people and seize property. I hope they follow throw on this. There is also a class action lawsuit against the convoy, and I'll be cheering THAT on with everything I've got. 

One of the organizers is suggesting that the 'next step' will involve a lot of guns. That's almost certainly nothing but fearmongering...but the intent is there. 

Almost ninety percent of truckers are fully vaccinated.  Better than two thirds of Canadians do not support the convoy's aims (not known if those aims were accurately presented in the poll). Are these protestors aware that Facebook and TikTok are not Canada?

I got into it on Reddit with somebody that was just full of idiocy. He accused me of being brainwashed by CBC and CTV, and when I asked him where he got HIS news, he said "live YouTube feeds. Pretty hard to fake live video."  That level of stupidity is really kind of hard to credit. Pretty hard to fake live video, and yet in the previous breath you accused CBC and CTV of doing just that. 

He also told me to "wake up" because the vaccine is an "obvious scam".  YOU CAN STILL CATCH IT, he said. 

Did NOBODY take science in frigging PUBLIC SCHOOL? I have heard this silly statement more than  a hundred times in the past eighteen months. What the hell do people think a vaccine IS? Of course you can still catch covid if you're vaccinated...THAT'S THE POINT. A vaccine doesn't give you magic disease repellant properties. It teaches your body what the virus looks like so that WHEN YOU ARE INFECTED, your body knows how to fight back. And the vaccines dramatically reduce severe outcomes: you're between 16 and 60 times more likely to end up in ICU if you are unvaxed. (Please Google this if you don't believe me...there are a wide variety of sources, all saying the same thing to different degrees.) 

We can certainly have a talk about restrictions. We are ALL tired of them, and many of us are questioning how it is almost every other country in the world is much further ahead in reopening than we are. (Answer: our health care system has been starved of funds for decades, and we have fewer ICU beds per capita than many Third World countries. It is therefore much easier than it should be to overwhelm the system). 

The Omicron wave is receding. The positive test rate is down to 11-14% (it peaked at well over 30%). There are still an alarming number of deaths--66 yesterday alone--but the ICU numbers are down 125 since last week. This is good news. It suggests we are close to relaxing. But we can not, MUST not, bow to domestic terrorism. 

And that is what this protest is, party vibes or not. I have little doubt that from certain angles, the January 6th insurrection attempt in Washington looked like a giant party too. Except most parties don't involve attempted arson. (Taping the doors shut is a nice murderous touch.) Nor do they typically involve harassmentassaulting homeless people, flying Nazi paraphernalia, and the like. And while parties are loud, they don't go on for twelve days and counting. 

The saving grace we have with these people is that they genuinely believe they are in the right. As such, they are documenting everything. It will all look so good in court later. I saw one YouTube video where the police were arresting an elderly gentleman who had laid on his truck horn for something like three hours straight. The cops were professional, non-confrontational, and very restrained given the provocation. The man recording all this for posterity kept screaming for the officer's name and badge number and shouting COMMUNISM...THIS IS COMMUNIST BULLSHIT...HE'S ARRESTING A CITIZEN! A CITIZEN OF CANADA! AN OLD MAN!"

When were old men deemed exempt from the law? For that matter, don't police arrest "citizens" every day? No, actually they don't, not if you see through the word "citizens". It's code for "white man". For most of this convoy, this will be the first time they get held legally accountable for their behaviour in their lives, and they're not taking it well. They support police eagerly so long as they're arresting indigenous people. (Ken: stop writing this paragraph soon. Do NOT go into an exhaustive compendium of police abuse of indigenous people to make your point.) I'm convinced the convoy doesn't feel like it's above the law but outside it. And I have nothing but contempt for outlaws. 

I'm not sure how this ends. It's already cost Erin O'Toole his job (and of course he was replaced by a card-carrying MAGAt). The fact we now have a major political party headed by someone inimical to Western ideals of democracy and inclusivity is what has me shaking in my boots.

The Freedom Convoy does not speak for me. And I hope they all get a chance to experience unfreedom. They deserve to. 


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