Right-wing support in the United States for the Canadian trucker convoy isn’t about freedom or free speech or anything like that. If it was, these Republicans would have had consistency and supported Black Lives Matter protests against state-sanctioned police violence. This is just another way for opportunistic politicians to rile people up and score cheap political points.
Despite their usual reactionary knee jerk reaction against any sort of public demonstrations regarding pretty much any social justice topic, the right-wing in the United States has been tripping over itself to offer lavish praise upon the truckers and employing ridiculous hyperbolic language seeking to paint Justin Trudeau and his government as the second coming of the Third Reich.
Propagandist Tucker Carlson has likened Canadian actions to restore normalcy to their cities as dictatorial actions by a “crumbling regime.” The admitted liar Carlson also called for a poll of small business owners to see how they feel about the trucker protests while failing to mention that poll after poll shows that a majority of Canadians oppose the protests and support both vaccination mandates and various public health measures meant to stop the spread of the virus.
News Entertainment clown Jesse Waters said Trudeau was “getting his chance to play dictator.”
With leadership like that, it should be no surprise that Florida’s far-right Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has been sending fundraising emails boasting of his support for the truckers. Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, now a Republican U.S. Congressman, instituted a county-wide curfew during the Black Lives Matter protest in the summer of 2020. But he is now perfectly OK with protestors disrupting international trade if they are extreme right-wingers.
Only in the liberal mainstream media can BLM burning down cities be considered “fiery but mostly peaceful,” & truckers protesting tyrannical mandates result in martial law.
The world is watching the truckers in Canada. If you’re a proponent of freedom, you should be with them.
— Carlos A. Gimenez (@CarlosGimenezFL) February 17, 2022
Statewide Florida elected official, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis (R) also put out a proclamation of support – which is extra crazy with nuts on top for someone regulating the banking and insurance companies of America’s third-largest state – which he shared in a tweet captioned, “Florida stands with the truckers of Canada. May Trudeau’s repression come to an end.”
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) February 14, 2022
Another Republican who decided to weigh in on the protests is Ted Cruz, who claimed the truckers were, ” defending Canada, America and standing up for freedom,” as actual Canadians complained the demonstrators were assaulting and harassing them. Cruz is no stranger to hypocrisy and he forcefully spoke out against Black Lives Matter protests in the past, comparing them to the January 6th riots and asking what the FBI was doing to “counter this ongoing pattern of domestic terrorism,” in another instance of highly selective outrage over political demonstrations.
Florida’s state Republican lawmakers, who never want to miss out on a chance to participate in the idiotic right-wing outrage machine, are being extra hypocritical even for them when it comes to their support for the Canadian Truckers.
In 2021, right-wing Sunshine State legislators passed HB1 into law, a draconian proposal that criminalized large protests and explicitly banned the blocking of traffic by protestors under enhanced criminal penalties. It’s such an extreme law that it actually allows drivers to run over protestors without any civil liability, merely if they feel threatened. Nevertheless, free speech crusader and authoritarianism fan-boy Gov. DeSantis signed it into law.
There are already laws in the books that criminalized rioting and violent behavior during public demonstrations. Republicans admitted that there had been no large-scale riots that made this a necessity and that it would also not apply to the riots we are accustomed to seeing after significant sporting events. What DeSantis and his Florida Republican cronies really wanted to do was to punish and demonize Black Lives Matter protestors who spoke out after the murder of George Floyd.
This has never been more apparent after watching the Republican reaction to the trucker convoy protesting against common-sense public health measures that have been wreaking havoc on Canadian cities, occupied Ottawa, and blocked the most important trade route between Canada and the United States.
Nevermind that the protests by these truckers included extremists waiving confederate and even Nazi flags and that residents of Ottawa and other cities have been affected by disruptions to their daily routines, and business has suffered substantial financial losses. Authorities from both the United States and Canada scrambled to restore commerce between both countries after suffering millions of dollars in losses.
Fox News and right-wing Republicans like Ron DeSantis are clearly out of touch with actual Canadians and are using this issue to rile up their right-wing base in the United States. A recent leak of donations data for the trucker convoy from GiveSendGo.com shows that 55% of donations actually come from people within the United States.
Republicans who champion the Canadian trucker protests don’t care about freedom or anything like that. They only care about their own political agenda and will use government power to censor anyone they disagree with.
Thomas Kennedy is an elected Democratic National Committee member representing Florida. Twitter: @tomaskenn.
is a reported opinion columnist and roving correspondent. He's an elected member of the Democratic National Committee from Florida and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.