WASHINGTON, October 12, 2013 — The whole idea behind the “Ride for the Constitution” is flawed.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 10-12,000 trucks drive the nation’s capital beltway daily, so it would take a substantial number of trucks to impact traffic and promote the so-called “Ride for the Constitution.”
Even if thousands of trucks arrived to snarl traffic, this would do nothing but anger commuters. Since participants did not obtain permits to demonstrate in Washington, D.C., they would also risk having their rigs impounded.
Independent truckers are barely squeezing out a living these days and they often take jobs just to make their rig payments so to ask them to come to Washington and drive around in circles with diesel fuel at $3.85 per gallon and getting about five to six miles per gallon at highway speeds, a trucker would have to ask themselves; “What is this going to accomplish?” Some who did show claim the fuel alone cost them $700.
The Ride for the Constitution organizers presented photos of trucks on the beltway as proof of some sort of victory. May of those trucks were driving on the beltway as part of their regular job, not because they were participating in the demonstration.
At one point, four tractor-trailers drove in tandem for a minute, but state police quickly broke it up.
“Ride” organizers quickly photographed this momentary maneuver and posted it on the Ride for the Constitution website. The visual is accompanied by the 1975 song “Convoy” by C.W McCall, giving the appearance that the protest was a smashing success.
The so-called ‘manifesto’ by organizers attempted to recruit truckers by listing industry related grievances first and foremost. The manifesto went on to list constitutional concerns. The group then tried to enlist bikers by calling it a “Ride” rather than a “Drive” for the constitution. Other points of the manifesto, such as statements that the requirements for earning an Eagle Scout are over-regulated, appear to be attempts to further broaden support for the effort.
Any biker who wanted to join the rally was likely dissuaded by the weather. Heavy rains have washed D.C. for the last two days.
Earl Conolon, self-proclaimed Ride for the Constitution organizer, drove up from Georgia and was spotted by a US News reporter as he stood alone at the mall complaining: “I’ve been here for hours and I ain’t seen nothin’.”
He went on to angrily declare “I’m downtown where the rally is supposed to be but I haven’t seen anybody or heard anyone on the radio.”
Conlon concluded by ruminating “If they (the truckers) are circling the loop (beltway) what good is that going to do? Sure taught D.C. a lesson, didn’t they?”
Conlon had previously threatened that truckers would arrive in D.C. and arrest politicians and then admitted he made those statements to “attract attention.”
Ultimately, poor organization, an over-zealous manifesto and even the weather appear to have undermined the Ride for the Constitution, making it a non-event in the nation’s capital.
Paul Mountoy is a Virginia based writer and psychotherapist.
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