I donated $100 to the Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy. Now it appears that, by emergency edict of the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, I might quite possibly be labeled a “foreign terrorist” and my financial records turned over to government bureaucrats for inspection.
Just days ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to quash dissent by truckers and others protesting and demanding an end to Canada’s COVID mandates. In a show of force, and without bothering to even meet with the truckers, Trudeau outlined plans to not only tow away their rigs but to strike at their bank accounts and their livelihoods, declaring that it was time for the people to “go home”.
In invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act, Trudeau threatened to tow away vehicles, freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts, suspend the insurance on their rigs, confiscate their rigs, if need be, fine them up to $100,000 for failure to obey, and jail them. “Time to go home”, submit, or else was the message sent by a shaken Trudeau trying to project strength by further suppressing his own people.
“Consider yourselves warned,” deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said. “Send your rigs home.” Freeland joined Trudeau in declaring that the government would also broaden its anti-money-laundering regulations to target crowd-funding sites that are being used to support the “illegal blockades”.
Once hailed as heroes, truckers who have braved harsh weather conditions since the pandemic’s inception and bringing food and building materials to families, are now being castigated as “terrorists” for their successful #FreedomConvoy. The Prime Minister went so far as to not only demean the truckers as “insignificant fringe groups,” “misogynists” and “right-wingers” but insulted and falsely labeled supporters of the truckers and the rights to peacefully assemble by truckers and their supporters who showed up to tell their leaders that it was time to end the forced mandates and restore full civil liberties in a nation once cherished as a symbol of freedom. Trudeau went so far as to castigate supporters of the truckers, including a Jewish member of the Canadian Parliament, Melissa Lantsman, for siding with swastika-waving “terrorists”, walking out of Parliament rather than issuing an apology that she demanded as a descendant of Holocaust survivors.
Today, as we have seen, guilt by association has become the norm and anyone siding with the political speech and actions of those who oppose governments are castigated and declared “terrorists”—remember even how parents in the U.S. showing up at school board meetings were declared “domestic terrorists?” Now anyone who contributes to a cause government officials don’t support seems to qualify one as being placed on that “terrorist” list as well.
The upending of civil liberties has included not only the truckers and supporters who showed up in Ottawa, but to any supporter who had dared to contribute to the cause of freedom. Inspired by their actions, millions in donations poured into internet funding sites supporting the protests, including support from the U.S. But the heavy iron heel of government repression soon descended on these sites, freezing the donations that had been made to the #FreedomConvoy.
As events transpired and the #FreedomConvoy took hold, I was inspired and captivated by this audacious yet peaceful protest of working-class people—truckers—to stand up to their own government demanding an end to forced mandates. But their action was bigger than just mandates. Their actions demonstrated a peaceful taking on of big government over-reach and the disdain it often has towards the very people who work to bring food to other families’ kitchen tables.
I have spoken out about vaccine mandates in our country for quite some time, and the double standards of how elite elected officials decree laws for the people but then evade them for themselves. From California Governor Gavin Newsom to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, it deeply troubled me the cynicism by which these “leaders” looked down upon the very people they are supposed to serve as they flaunted their own rules in fancy restaurants or at sporting events.
These truckers sent a message of resilience to a world struggling to come out of the dark after two years of experiencing a suspension of life as we know it and liberties—from preventing us to go to church (including banning singing in church), to being told that vast sectors of working people were simply “nonessential,” to having small businesses shut down and our kids kept out of schools (while elite officials could send their children to private schools). I and so many others around the world got vaccines—but resisted the call to forcibly inject mandates as a provision of being able to earn a living or be a member of society. I have been appalled at the embrace of these segregationist policies by so many—particularly—Democratic Party officials.
What particularly motivated me to make my contribution was the callousness and collusion of big tech and government when the first internet site to which support was sent, GoFundMe, was also threatened, shutting down the millions of dollars that everyday people had sent to support the #FreedomConvoy. Then we learned that donor information was leaked, exposing the names and addresses of donors who had sent money to support the truckers. The Washington Post newspaper—owned by the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos—soon started contacting donors identified in the leak, who, just like me, had sent money to GiveSendGo.
It appears we are all “terrorists” now. And make no doubt about it: this is not just about suppressing one political cause, but like a horse’s head, it is intended as a warning to all others that you too will be investigated and harassed if you go against those in power.
I have watched with great alarm the growing Orwellian-like censorship and suppression of speech of tech dictators from Twitter to Facebook and others suppress as posts digressing from the official party line have been deemed “misinformation” and conversation suppressed. Language is consciousness, and by suppression of language and the messaging of people, thought can be controlled when freedoms are quashed.
As a former university professor, I don’t believe in suppressing expression of views—even when I don’t share the opinion. When GoFundMe shut down the millions of dollars that had been donated and declared the seizure of the millions of dollars that had been originally raised for the truckers, I chose to act, sending a contribution via the new site, GiveSendGo, that had opened in response to the suppression and seizure we were witnessing.
I once served on the Board of the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union during a time when the organization actually defended civil liberties and the right to peaceful protests. Today, that organization has gone silent in standing up for what it once defended. Thankfully, the Canadian equivalent has stood up for the truckers, decrying the Trudeau government’s shameful actions.
Long ago, I worked my way through college as a waitress serving truckers who pulled into a diner on Main Street in Barstow, California. Given that I typically worked the graveyard shift, it gave me an opportunity to talk to truckers traversing America about the roads they travelled, catching glimpses into life of blue-collar workers far beyond the confines of my small desert town. I never forgot those conversations as I poured lots of black coffee into their cups to fuel their trek across the Mojave Desert and into the American heartland.
I am the daughter of a father who worked the railroads in the desert town of Barstow, who taught me the ideal of freedom and the rights and dignity of working people to access that great American Dream, in which he so fervently believed. Eventually, I served in the California Legislature, rising to become the first woman to ever be elected as Majority Leader of the California State Senate—never forgetting my working class roots and the rights and dreams of everyday Americans. Class permeated my consciousness from an early age. My father long believed that politicians were all corrupt—something he had to reconsider once I was elected shortly before he died (he relented and said “well, except for you”). But the dreams—and nightmares—of my father have long stayed with me as I’ve seen the utter disdain and disrespect shown to everyday, “non-woke” working Americans of every political persuasion, race and national origin. No, these are not “deplorables” nor “non-essential” people. And even when there is political disagreement, there is never an excuse for “leaders” to dismiss the views of the thoughts of the very people we are elected to represent.
Undoubtedly, under the excuse of a pandemic, civil liberties have been upended—not only here in America but in Canada, our once closest international partner in democracy. Ironically, the same Prime Minister who has exposed his own thin political skin by his own people in their demand of a return to democracy is the same Prime Minister who praised Black Lives Matter and took a knee even as some protests turned into violent mobs burning buildings, cornering police precincts, and mayhem and death of innocent law-abiding people ensued. Yet, this is the same Prime Minister who seemed to have taken a liking to donning black-face makeup and has praised the efficiency of China’s dictatorship. He now believes that strength means locking his own people up and punishing anyone who supports freedom-loving protesters.
But truckers in Ottawa are holding the line and the demonstrations have inspired similar convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands. A U.S. truck convoy has just been announced, and I was overjoyed to learn that it will begin in my hometown of Barstow, California—the same town in which I served coffee to those truckers I met while working graveyard so many years ago.
I remember watching on television the courage of one single, unidentified individual standing up in Tiananmen Square against a show of force of a Chinese military sent in to suppress student demonstrations and calls for reform. I travelled to Berlin at the time the wall fell, and now possess pieces of that wall as a cherished symbol of freedom. Over the years, I have participated in many peaceful marches and have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience for standing up for the rights of all to life, liberty, and more just working and living conditions. My support of the truckers is no different.
It’s long past time to lift the heavy iron boot that has stood on the neck of families around the world. Governmental use of “emergency” powers—be it here in California or in Ottawa—are mere excuses to stifle dissent, demand obedience, and suppress God-given rights of freedom for which people across the centuries have fought to preserve.
In this battle of the Pajama Boy Prime Minister Trudeau vs. the truckers…. I’ll side with the truckers who didn’t hide in their basements during a worldwide pandemic. They hit the road, continuing to deliver as they always did. Today, they deliver the message of freedom.
Cracks are forming in the totalitarian wall Trudeau has attempted to erect as leaders of several Canadian provinces are warning the prime minister against invoking draconian “emergency” provisions. The #FreedomConvoy has inspired us to take back our government and standing up for ourselves and our rights is something we must do—power won’t just be handed over by an elite class that has come to enjoy the power of suppression far more than what is good in so-called democratic countries. This is about freedom. It’s about understanding that no one is “nonessential” and that as “deplorable” as the people may be in the eyes of those who seek to rule them, a world will continue to be inspired by people who have the courage to stand up to the powerful. No governmental tyrants can erase that.
I don’t know how this will end. I don’t know if I’ll be investigated as a “terrorist” or my bank account scrutinized and frozen. But in these times, I’m proud to stand with those who aren’t afraid to stand and deliver for the ideals we cherish and will defend.
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