Positively the last convoy post
Adios, tantrum truckers
It looks like the People’s Convoy, which had hoped to win the hearts of the nation and force Joe Biden to rescind such COVID mandates as still existed by blocking traffic and blowing horns in our nation’s capital, has failed in both missions and is picking up sticks and heading out of almost-DC, with Sacramento, California announced as the next town to receive the pleasure of their company:
Co-organizer Mike Landis announced Sunday night that the group would pack its things up in the coming days and drive back to California…
He pledged to “come back to finish this job” in the metro area at some unspecified time, which seems highly unlikely as their crowd dwindles.
The announcement comes after lead organizer Brian Brase fled Hagerstown again over the weekend amid continued splintering within the group.
It’s worth looking at what happened to them here, and why it’s a good sign for America.
The last time I told you about the convoy, they’d been here nigh on three weeks and were spinning their wheels. They were still camped out at a speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland about 90 miles outside the District of Columbia, and still regularly circling the District on the infamous Beltway, adding slightly to its eternal traffic jams.
Mini-convoys — usually comprised of a few truck cabs and some of the pick-ups and cars that, despite the grand claims of its organizers, made up most of the convoy’s motilla — had begun visiting Washington, blowing their horns and waving their MAGA flags in various neighborhoods before rolling back to Hagerstown in the afternoons.
These convoyettes were greeted less than courteously by the people of our city, with extended middle fingers being the preferred form of greeting. The biggest news story that came out of those encounters, however, was the tale of the cyclist who blocked a line of these drivers by pedaling real slow down 17th Street NW, which prank got the drivers yelling and rage-honking. A video of this was taken and posted and widely disseminated. The Washington Post interviewed the cyclist, Daniel Adler, who told them, “if you drive through our neighborhoods in your 10 ton diesel with your air horn blaring, and your toxic message — expect to meet peaceful resistance.”
You can imagine how this must have affected the convoy folks. They had been working a venerable rightwing game of Macho Cosplay, in which a cadre of rightwing activists go out in public wearing manly costumes and acting tough for the cameras, sometimes beating up or pointing guns at their enemies. The racket had been handed down to them from the Hard Hats to the Tea Party to Joe the Plumber to the Bundy Family to Duck Dynasty, and they were accustomed to have it accepted without question by the media and the voters as a visit from the White Working Class to anoint the conservative cause with elbow grease and honest sweat.
So why shouldn’t it work with a convoy, a concept blessed in popular culture as populist, working class, and dead butch? The activists and their followers were obviously trained to refer to their members, despite the paucity of actual 18-wheelers, as “truckers” — hard working kings of the road, they would remind you on social media, who filled our shelves and warehouses when they were not driving in circles and honking their horns, and to whom we should be grateful. (Often this call to gratitude came with the implied threat that the convoy truckers would stop delivering to us puny city-folk if we weren’t properly thankful — notwithstanding they were not delivering anything at present besides traffic jams and loud noises.)
You could see this in their media outlets. On Twitter they posted photos that made the convoy look huge and impressive. They bragged on all the patriots who had waved at the convoy from overpasses in towns where such events are as rare and exciting as a papal visit, and the stupidly, lazily complicit media dutifully reported their ludicrous groundswell claims (“the convoy had hundreds of trucks and went on for probably seven miles”).
Breitbart.com ran headlines like “USA ‘People’s Convoy’ Set to Roll Wednesday: Biden ‘Fears the American People.’” “‘Convoy to DC 2022’ Gains Momentum as American Truckers Get Organized,” claimed Legal Insurrection. “The Facebook page that appears to be the social media hub has over 111,000 thousand followers,” they reported. “The page states that they support freedom and they are done with the mandates.” And who could forget the early adopter Bob Bolus, who told the press the convoy would descend upon DC like a “giant boa constrictor,” and then rolled out in his own truck and promptly got lost?
To its dark-money funders the convoy to DC must have seemed like a low-risk, high-reward venture. The Canada convoy, which messed up Ottawa for weeks, had managed to at least temporarily damage prime minister Trudeau’s popularity, notwithstanding the voters didn’t approve of the convoy either. If the DC convoy could make some noise, maybe it could damage Biden’s reputation too, and if things went their way, who knew what else they could achieve?
Ah, what might have been. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine didn’t help; wise guys greeted the DC convoy with humiliating comparisons to Ukrainian fighters:
(That many prominent conservatives appeared to favor Putin made this more effective than it might have been.)
But having watched the shit go down, I really think something else clicked, too. I think people who were not already supporting the convoy looked at this bunch of burly guys trying to shut down Washington, and flashed back to January 6, 2021. In a way that, too, was conservative Macho Cosplay, with lots of well-off weekend warriors playing insurrection.
As the convoy failed to win converts, even the stupidly, lazily complicit media was forced to think: Why are we covering these guys? And without their fluffing, people came to see the convoy for what it was: A bunch of MAGA soreheads who went among ordinary Americans to make a nuisance of themselves for no good reason at all.
The convoyers devolved in later days to attacks on citizens and threats against Black Lives Matter Plaza, and dumb PR feints like a pretend “feed the homeless” drive, but the game was up, and their leaders — their pockets no doubt fattened with grift — pulled the plug.
I feel a little bad for the weaker lost souls who got caught up in this Lord Humungus fantasy, and infinite contempt for everyone else involved. But I’m glad that for once the Macho Cosplay stunt backfired, and hope that everyone takes the wider lesson, which is that their whole rightwing working-man pose is a fraud meant to mask their predations and greed, and the next time they come strutting onstage growling “Ah’m a ruff tuff pipefitter/stock car driver/tobacco auctioneer/whatever an’ ah don’t lahk socialized medicine nohow,” feel free to laugh that shit off. 10-4!
As you've shown repeatedly, Dr. Ed, that "burly man" schtick works because mainstream media types are themselves hungry to be seen themselves as "burly men" or at least sympathetic to said "burly men" so they'll fall for it every time. A year from now -- it'll be like this never happened...