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Several The Trucker Facebook followers speak out against "Truckers Ride for The Constitution" protest Friday

The strike is set for Friday, Oct. 11 until Sunday, Oct. 13. Out of the estimated 3.5 million truckers in the United States, about 3,000 have agreed to participate in the protest, according to one of the organizers.

By Aprille Hanson
The Trucker Staff

10/8/2013

Organizers for the “Truckers Ride for The Constitution” three-day proposed strike on the streets of Washington D.C. have been rallying truckers across the nation since Mid-September to help clog the inner loop of the I-495 beltway until the federal government complies with a list of grievances that have included everything from impeaching President Barack Obama to arresting congressmen.

The strike is set for Friday, Oct. 11 until Sunday, Oct. 13. Out of the estimated 3.5 million truckers in the United States, about 3,000 have agreed to participate in the protest, according to one of the organizers.

However, most truckers on The Trucker Facebook page are not going to be driving to the Capitol.

The protest has been a grassroots effort through social media, which started with a Facebook page called “Truckers to Shutdown America,” created by Zeeda Andrews, who is a former truck stop singer. The original demands on the Facebook page which had more than 50,000 “likes” before Facebook removed it, stated:

  • “Remove [President Barack] Obama from office for crimes of treason and misdemeanors.”

  • “We want congressional hearing on Benghazi and Seal Team 6.”

  • “Louis Learner put in jail.” (actual spelling: “Lois,” an IRS official).  

  • “No amnesty, remove all Muslims in our government that do not uphold the Constitution.”

  • “Remove Eric Holder from office for crimes against the people and the Constitution.”

  • “Last but not least is fuel prices.”

The page also encouraged protests throughout the United States: “Truck drivers will not haul freight! Workers will call in sick! Consumers will not buy or sell anything on this date! Stay Home! Buy Nothing!”

A new Facebook page titled “Truckers Ride For The Constitution,” was created for the strike and had 65,671 “Likes” by Tuesday afternoon.  

Earl Conlon, a trucker from Georgia, told U.S. News that he ran with Andrews original vision, and takes credit for planning the logistics of how the demonstration would take place. However, Conlon changed some of the group’s demands, including no longer calling for Obama’s impeachment, but simply to arrest congressmen involved in the government shutdown through a “citizens grand jury,” or a group of people convened without court authorization but able to issue indictments.

Among those he planned on arresting included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

In a recent news release to various media outlets, the group said: "It has become apparent that our elected official [sic] will never respond to the will of the people as long as their greed wealth is not jeopardized. The only thing that motivates every politician is their money — cutting off their money-flow cuts off their life-blood. The Independent Truckers in the United States essentially keep commerce flowing for benefit of the central government.”

The group also has claimed that the government “now support[s] Al Qaeda.”

However, a day after telling the media that arresting congressmen was a top priority, Conlon has since said publically that “the truckers are not doing any arresting.”

Conlon’s change of heart came after online radio host Peter Santilli, who is hosting a similar rally in California, said the group was in fact asking congressmen who “refuse to follow the law” to resign. Santilli, who is not a trucker, also said the group will still be calling for Obama’s impeachment.

The convoy is planned for Friday on the I-495 beltway in Washington, D.C., and if police intervene, Conlon has warned that the truckers will stop their trucks, blocking traffic. Trucks will take up three lanes, Conlon said, with the left lane kept open for emergency vehicles. However, vehicles that don’t display “T2SDA” in support of the protest will not be allowed to pass, Conlon told media outlets.

Trucking interests including American Trucking Associations (ATA), the largest trade organization for truckers, and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have spoken out against the strike.

“We’re not a sponsor or a supporter, and we certainly don't condone it,” said ATA spokesman Sean McNally.

Kevin Rutherford, radio host of Trucking Business & Beyond on SiriusXM Satellite Radio CH 128, reached out to The Trucker editorial staff about what his radio listeners have been saying about the impending protest, most of which has been negative.

Rutherford said there are many reasons why the protest is misguided, including that shutting down the highways is “dangerous and illegal,” federal legislators and Obama will not be in D.C. during the weekend and that the off-shoot protests in other areas will lead to confusion by the general public, which will make truckers look like “angry thugs.”

“It simply makes the trucking industry and its drivers look foolish and uninformed,” Rutherford said. “Groups that already oppose the trucking industry would jump on the chance to vilify the trucking industry even further and call for stricter regulations — and more of them.”

The Trucker Facebook page collected more than 70 comments about the strike. The opinions varied, but the majority of drivers disagreed with this protest, but supported another strike dealing solely with trucking industry issues.

Below are some of the comments:  

Shirley Elder Hooker Don't make this a political statement, make it about the trucking industry

Benny Take Off Robinson Truckers lost a lot of support once they read that you were politicizing the strike. You should have kept the issues about trucking!

Kay Jackson I support the Truckers’ strike. They are supporting AMERICA, not just truckers in America. Standing up (or driving) against corruption in our government is powerful & courageous!

Porter M. Corn Comments here will show that the majority of truckers are level headed and have common sense and the ability to use it. It annoys me to no end that an industry I've devoted almost 40 years of my life to is being made a laughingstock by a small group of malcontents with an agenda.

Tom Giersch See this is the problem. Its never gonna be successful until there is an agreement of grievances. So decide on what the strike is about first. Youd think a facebook group could have a specific target objective. If a group cant do that how do you expect am entire industry to??

Tim McLaughlin It's an extremist right-wing propagandized bunch of bs. That's coming from an owner/operator 12 years.

Randall R. Kniess It's time people quit hiding behind the politically correct shields and use their First Amendment Rights. Whether you agree or disagree, that is what freedom is

Gertrude Jackson If it were more geared towards making the trucking industry better then I'd support it. Doing such a thing in the nations capitol is not a smart idea … They are clearly playing on us trucker's grievances about the industry to fuel a strike that's solely the government. How do they claim this strike will help us truckers? Will it get better pay for us? Will it garner us more respect and better treatment? Will it change any of the regulations put on us to keep the non-truckers happy? What exactly will come out of it to better my working condition and that of every trucker industry wide?

Don Lanier I was all for it until I got to the part about defunding the ACA and Muslims and more dividing rhetoric. Truckers do need to stand up and for many reasons, but that stuff I leave to the DO NOTHING Congress not hard working men and women. We need to speak with one clear unified voice and it needs to say, were tired of the regulations, the costs, having our pockets picked by lobbies and do-gooders, when all we want is to work, earn a living and be free.

Richard Chiaet A shutdown is not the right way to get our voices across. The strike will never materialize because for me, and I'm sure there are others like me that will not risk a good paying job to go out on strike; we can and will probably be terminated for load refusals. The only way to right this so-called wrong, is by voting in our elections, our voices will not be heard otherwise. The U.S. economy is too dependent on our industry, and our industry is too big for a shutdown to ever occur.

Anne Constiner Kehoe I would say it is sad and misguided. A three day strike will hurt this country. How does that solve the issues? This is a political issue that many do not agree with. A trucker strike should pertain to trucking, not political nonsense. You want things to change then vote in the individuals who stand for what you believe.

To read more comments from truckers on The Trucker Facebook page, click here.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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