“Proud To Be Canadian Again”
Camaraderie and Generosity among the Truckers and their Supporters
Huge numbers of Canadians lined roadways and overpasses to cheer on the truckers on their way to Ottawa this past weekend, people with signs of love and belonging, reveling in our common humanity. “With glowing hearts,” as the line from the Canadian national anthem goes, “the True North strong and free.”
The truckers and their friends and supporters are overwhelmingly open and generous, seeking a return of the freedoms that have been taken from them, as from so many of us. There is an abundance of footage online now; here is just one excellent summary.
The British newspaper, The Guardian, in one of two articles about this massive movement, highlights Csava Vizi, a trucker whose introduction to us is through his words, which contain a grammatical error. He says, “I’m not able to work no more because I can’t cross the border.”
One can almost hear the educated readers of The Guardian snickering into their masks.
Alas for them, good grammar is not a proxy for truth. Vast swaths of the educated class have demonstrated, these last two years, that their educations were woefully inadequate. When told to #FollowTheScience by a dude who claims that “I am science,” they do so. When asked whether or not there might be more to the story, whether the story might not be what it seems, this same educated class assures us that the science is settled. And what does “the science” say? Somehow it justifies a conveyor belt of Covid vaccines, from here into eternity, vaccines that prevent neither transmission nor infection (although just months ago we were assured that they did), vaccines even for children and pregnant women; also masks for everyone, including children, who need even more than the rest of us to see each other, to speak and breathe freely and to see others doing the same.
Somehow the fact that “the science” is an incoherent mash-up of politically motivated policies does not register. The educated class keep right on snickering into their masks. Their feelings of superiority and entitlement are enhanced by having been misinformed—yes—by their precious mainstream outlets. Outlets that, once upon a time, could justifiably be called news outlets, but no more. They are outlets now, to be sure, but outlets for anger and anxiety rather than news, outlets that propagate division and delusion.
One thing that all of this has put in stark relief is how uneducated many of the educated actually are. How ignorant the smart people are, how smug and naïve are those who just happen to be best positioned to ride out the insanity—the lockdowns and the masking and the fear campaigns—while relying on people who do real work—people like the truckers—to keep on trucking, but please, leave the thinking to us.
Vizi, the trucker who committed the mortal sin of using the construction “I’m not able to work no more,” is then used, by The Guardian, to further entrench its entitled readers, while stroking their egos. “’I refuse the vaccine,’ he said, calling it dangerous.”
This may garner a knowing snort or an eye-roll, from the educated Guardian reader, ego-stroked and dug in to full Covid anxiety and hysteria as she likely is. But such a person might also look around furtively at this point, for affirmation. All such readers might sometimes look up from their lives of aspirational envy and wonder if the tiny slice of the world that they live in is actually reflective of the whole world.
I can assure them that it is not.
The moralizing of the pseudo-educated class is pathetic and desperate. The popular AM show “Morning Joe” did a particularly grotesque segment. Disgust and disdain dripping from every syllable, they claim that “dozens of trucks” brought Ottawa to a standstill, a movement that “escalated into an expression of disapproval with the Canadian government’s Covid-19 policies. Officials say several investigations are underway into reports of severe vandalism and criminal behavior, including the desecration of national monuments1.” The hosts of Morning Joe conclude that participants in the Truckers For Freedom movement are “a cult.”
There is a cult to be found in this story, to be sure, but the truckers and their supporters, who together number in the millions, aren’t in it.
These media bobbleheads are not speaking truth. They are not even speaking what they think. They may not be thinking hard on it at all, considering new information, more data, or a better analysis, and coming to a different conclusion the next day. No. That would be a scientific approach, one based not in ideology, but in humanity. Rather, this is hateful, divisive, and facile rhetoric. With ideological rhetoric such as this, we might at least expect consistency2. At least with set-and-forget lives you should trust that you will not be found out as a hypocrite.
What does characterize this movement?
The Truckers For Freedom convoy and protests are massive and peaceful. The people in them are patriotic and proud. They seek the freedoms that we were all born to, not special treatment from the State. Have there been any outliers, rogue individuals who behaved in ways that they shouldn’t have, or flown flags that nobody else wanted there? Surely yes.
But the mainstream media would have us believe that this is a movement awash in confederate flags and swastikas, that these are people full of ignorance and hatred.
I posit that it is, rather, the mainstream media that is full of ignorance and hatred.
Here are the words of a professional man, a man who will remain anonymous out of concerns for his job should his positions be known—a man who is fully vaccinated against Covid, by the way—regarding what he saw as of the convoy between Quebec and Ottawa:
“I had the privilege of travelling through Ottawa on Saturday January 29th from the Quebec side and I got to see, first hand, the Trucker Convoy protest. What surprised me was how much activism and support there was on the Quebec side (and effort made by authorities to prevent people travelling from Quebec into Ottawa). I was stuck in traffic for four hours (for what is usually a 40 minute drive). The energy, positivity, camaraderie and celebration were truly emotionally profound. The inclusivity and solidarity were something I haven't felt for years. Finally I felt like I was validated in my beliefs. Everyone was so kind, and so supportive. It was such a positive experience.”
He goes on to say that “I did not see one example of anger, violence, racial or gender prejudice, and not one confederate or Nazi flag. The movement of people I witnessed would have denounced any examples of the aforementioned.”
And here are the words of Heidi Bueckert (wife of trucker Bernie Bueckert, who with his friend Andy Driedger, both pictured here, has gone to Ottawa) about what they are seeing3:
“This movement is so powerful, not just the truckers but the throngs of people coming out to support them. There hasn’t been a city, town, or hamlet they’ve passed without crowds of people coming out to cheer them on and ply them with food and goods and offers of a place to stay or a hot shower. Bernie said he hasn’t had a day yet without getting choked up by the overwhelming generosity of the people they have encountered. I think perhaps the sense of unity and love for our fellow Canadians is the real story developing. Over and over we hear people say that after two years, they’re proud to be Canadian again.”
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Pretending to care about things like monuments, as my (friend who masquerades as my) favorite cartoon alligator points out, is rather remarkable given how much actual destruction was done by widespread #BLM protests-cum-riots in the Summer of 2020:
Ralph Waldo Emerson would have understood a change of heart, had it been accompanied by deep thought. From his 1841 book Self-Reliance: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”