Activism, Uncensored: The People's Convoy
From California to the Beltway, a wire-to-wire portrait of the American trucker protests
In a terrific piece of coast-to-coast video journalism, culminating in a story that’s still live — the “Freedom Convoy,” an American version of Canadian trucker protests, is still engaged in daily circling of the Beltway — TK partners News2Share chronicles the convoy’s journey from Adelanto, California to Washington, D.C. Ford Fischer and his crew also shoot a counterprotest in Washington, as well as a meeting held between the truckers and three oft-maligned Republican members of congress: Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Thomas Massie.
This extended video captures enough of the atmosphere around the protests to make it accessible, without covering up any warts. You’ll see anti-China sentiment, an ugly fight on a D.C. overpass, and a trucker suggesting everyone in the White House needs “a short piece of rope and a tall tree.” There are also FREE HUGS signs, a bluetick coonhound who concludes prayers on command, and a man showing his belief that the protests are a “crusade” by dressing in a chainmail knight costume and pledging to “fight the evil in the world, man.”
Beyond the journey with the truckers, News2Share captures multiple sides of national news stories. When an MMA fighter named Kyle Sefcik scheduled a protest for truckers in Washington that he initially estimated would contain 3,000 people, only a handful showed up. This led to mockery by Stephen Colbert (“You could have driven a truck through the place if any had shown up”) and a spate of news stories with headlines like “Much-hyped D.C. trucker rally turns out to be a joke,” and “Trucker convoy protest in Washington DC flops as no one shows up.”
Sefcik’s protest was a dud, looking like the Themeland Jazz Odyssey in Spinal Tap, but it wasn’t the actual “trucker convoy protest,” which by then had gathered hundreds of vehicles but only made it as far as Monrovia, Indiana. Already there was a counter-protest awaiting them in Washington that was remarkable on a number of levels, beginning with a speaker offering the Freudian tidbit, “But after the unprecedented invasion of Ir— of Ukraine…” The left/socialist protesters were insistent that the truckers are not workers but members of the exploiting class. “Do not be fooled,” says one masked counter-protester. “These people are small business owners. They are capitalists!”
As to that: the Truckers eventually set up a base camp of sorts in Hagerstown, Maryland, and have elected to circle the capital daily until somewhat amorphous demands against mask and vaccine mandates are met. A delegation went to Washington to meet with the three Twitter-infamous members of congress. In that meeting, a trucker veered from mandates to talk about prices.
“In 2012, I went through this with Obama. When fuel prices hit $5 a gallon, I had a truck that was paid for, I was profitable,” he said (reportedly the national average never made it to $5 a gallon then, though it did hit that number in spots). He went on: “Then, I lost everything. I had to sell my truck, even though it was paid for, go to the oil fields of North Dakota, and get a job as a company driver, and it’s taken me ten years to work my way back up.”
Referring to current skyrocketing gas prices, and offering a preview of potential future disputes, he added: “We are right now on the precipice of losing our collective asses… You cannot run a truck on six dollars a gallon.”
Overall, News2Share does a great job giving a nuanced portrayal of all sides of the current culture war, showing a complex dispute from multiple angles.