Now, I usually don’t have much good to say about big rigs. Out on the interstates, they slow me down going upgrade and whoosh by me going downgrade, while I have my cruise control set to the ultimate speed that won’t get me a ticket.
But I’ve gotta love those truckers who are banding together in a Fuel Protest that has import for all of us.
According to here (which is worth reading in its entirety):
The truckers who organized the protests – by CB radio and internet – have a specific goal: reducing the price of diesel fuel. They are owner-operators, meaning they are also businesspeople, and they can’t break even with current fuel costs. They want the government to release its fuel reserves. They want an investigation into oil company profits and government subsidies of the oil companies. Of the drivers I talked to, all were acutely aware that the government had found, in the course of a weekend, $30 billion to bail out Bear Stearns, while their own businesses are in a tailspin.
But the larger message of the truckers’ protest is about pride or, more humbly put, self-respect, which these men channel from their roots. Dan Little tells me, “My granddad said, and he was the smartest man I ever knew, ‘If you don’t stand up for yourself ain’t nobody gonna stand up for you.’” Go to theamericandriver.com, run by JB and his brother in Texas, where you’re greeted by a giant American flag, and you’ll find – among the driving tips, weather info, and drivers’ favorite photos –the entire Constitution and Declaration of Independence. “The last time we faced something as impacting on us,” JB tells me, “There was a revolution.”
Cranes and forklifts stood still from Seattle to San Diego, and ships were stalled at sea as workers held rallies up and down the coast to blame the war for distracting public attention and money from domestic needs like health care and education.
“We’re loyal to America, and we won’t stand by while our country, our troops and our economy are being destroyed by a war that’s bankrupting us to the tune of $3 trillion,” the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Bob McEllrath, said in a written statement. “It’s time to stand up, and we’re doing our part today.
Truckers joined the protests by refusing to cross the picket lines.
Also today, there was supposed to be a truckers’ protest convoy in New York City, but
Mike (JB) Schaffner, of www.theamericandriver.com, today announced that New York City has effectively canceled the convoy in Manhattan scheduled for May 1, 2008.
Spokesman Mike (JB) Schaffner said he was disappointed. “We were set to perform a peaceful demonstration to point out the frustration that working class America is feeling,” he said. “First they approved us. Then they changed our permits for no more than 35 vehicles in the convoy. Now they’ve placed so many unreasonable conditions on the event that it makes it nearly impossible. We’re asking the government of the great state of New York to address this, and the reasons why our freedoms to speak and peacefully assemble are being crushed.”
Brian Osborne, owner of B L Osborne Transport, said, “they’ve effectively shut us down all together.”
The trucker convoy that went to Washington on April 28 was more successful, and writer Barbara Ehrenreich chronicles her experience joining the protest on her blog (again, worth reading in its entirety):
We are to park the trucks at the RFK Stadium and walk from there to the Capitol, giving us about a half an hour to mill around on foot in the parking lot first. There’s a bobtail with “Truckin for Jesus” painted on it and, under that, “Truckers and Citizens United.” There are Operation Desert Freedom caps and a POW/MIA flag, as well signs indicting oil companies and “Wall Street speculators.” I chat with members of the mostly African-American contingent of DC dump truck drivers and with Belinda Raymond, a trucker’s wife from Maine, who tells me that people in her area raised $9000 to send a convoy of trucks down here, with the Knights of Columbus accounting for $2500 of that. Whole families have come, and I see a boy carrying a sign saying “What about My Future?” A smartly dressed woman from New Jersey carries a sign asking, “Got Milk? Not Without a Truck.”
Let’s face it. If all truckers went on strike, the economy of this country would grind to a halt as well. Once upon a time, Americans who weren’t going to take it any more dumped a bunch of tea into Boston Harbor.
And the Revolution began.
HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK!