Recently, after meeting with congressional Democrats, the United States Capitol Police initiated “extra security” precautions for Tuesday’s State of the Union address. The USCP is coordinating with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police, the United States Park Police, the Secret Service and the National Guard. Included in their preparations is the construction of a 7-foot fence around the Capitol building and the deployment of 50 tactical military vehicles. The purported need for all this security involves “The People’s Convoy,” a procession of truckers crossing the country to protest the ongoing use of COVID-19 as a pretext for restricting American civil liberties.
Never mind that the convoy’s press release says it won’t arrive in the Beltway area until days after the SOTU is delivered, and that it won’t enter the District of Columbia, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is monitoring the situation “very closely.” The convoy began its transcontinental trek last Wednesday. According to the Daily Mail, it was eight miles long by the time it reached Albuquerque, New Mexico. The organizers expect the convoy to grow as it crosses the country, and by Sunday morning their website indicated that they had received donations totaling $1,502,140. They have made it abundantly clear that they will follow the example of Canadian truckers by remaining nonviolent, and their demands are not unreasonable:
With the advent of the vaccines and workable therapeutic agents, along with the hard work of so many sectors that contributed to declining COVID-19 cases and severity of illness, it is now time to re-open the country.… To that end, it’s time for elected officials to work with the blue collar and white-collar workers of America and restore accountability and liberty — by lifting all mandates and ending the state of emergency — as COVID is well-in-hand now, and Americans need to get back to work in a free and unrestricted manner.
The convoy’s organizers place particular emphasis on the need to end the national public health emergency (PHE) — first declared two years ago — because more than a dozen states are still using it as a pretext to impose vaccine mandates. The PHE was about to expire when President Biden extended it: “I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Proclamation 9994 concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.” Biden’s reasoning is typically elusive. As CNBC reports, infections have plummeted from their pandemic peak, as have hospitalizations. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now promulgated new guidelines loosening mask restrictions.
Why, then, did Biden insist on renewing the PHE? It clearly provides him and his health care bureaucrats with extraordinary powers not otherwise granted to them by the Constitution. As 70 House Republicans led by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), wrote in a February 10 letter to Biden and his Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Instead of keeping us in a permanent state of emergency, it is time for this administration to put people first and stop clinging to powers you currently enjoy under the PHE.” The letter goes on to point out that the public health situation has evolved since the state of emergency was initially declared early in 2020:
Thanks to the Trump administration and Operation Warp Speed, we have ubiquitous vaccines and highly effective treatments, and we now have clear data on the strength of natural immunity. Thus, today we call on your administration to do what so many states and other countries already have: accept that COVID-19 is endemic, recognize that current heavy-handed government interventions are doing more harm than good, and immediately begin the process by which we unwind the PHE so our country can get back to normal.
It is not a coincidence that the demands of the truckers are similar to the concerns outlined in the Republican letter. The People’s Convoy is a rolling metaphor for a multiethnic working class that has been abandoned by the Democratic Party and is gravitating toward the GOP. Consequently, the corporate media is portraying the whole exercise as deeply sinister. The Daily Beast attributes the convoy’s fund-raising success to the fell machinations of a “conservative dark-money group created to fund election challenges.” This mysterious cabal has allegedly pivoted to funding the trucker convoy. Inevitably, we will see “news” stories connecting the convoy to confederate flags, swastikas, and white supremacy.
But the convoy is growing, as is the working-class contingent of the Republican Party, regardless of attempts by the corporate media to misrepresent both. Moreover, no amount of “insurrectionist” theater by United States Capitol Police and the Democrats will convince the public that these truckers are violent extremists. Presumably, there will be protestors on the mall Tuesday, but they won’t be from “The People’s Convoy.” This group of truckers will be in Missouri, expanding their convoy, when our embattled president reads his first SOTU script, hoping to convince a skeptical electorate that he has a clue. Those 7-foot fences and tactical vehicles can keep the people away from him, but they can’t conceal the truth.