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The Justified Complaints Behind the Truckers Protest

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Obama’s “corruption against the Constitution” will be challenged by a massive group of truckers in Washington, D.C. this Friday.

The description on the “Truckers Ride For The Constitution” Facebook page says, “The American people are sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America! We therefore declare a GENERAL STRIKE on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013! Truck drivers will not haul freight! Americans can strike in solidarity with truck drivers!”

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It all sounds exciting and meaningful, but what, specifically, are the truckers protesting? What exactly is the “corruption that is destroying America?”

A simple online search of “Truckers Ride For The Constitution” brings up dozens of write-ups about the protest, but almost none of them go into detail about trucker-specific grievances that protestors plan to bring to the attention of D.C.

Predictably, the vagueness of the event and its purpose has prompted knee-jerk assumptions and spin from the right and the left.

Leftist media outlets continue to put out negative headlines like, “Right-Wing Truckers Plan To Jam DC’s Major Commuter Highway, Arrest Members Of Congress.” (Ben Pam, an organizer for the protest, has since said there are no plans to arrest members of Congress.) Similarly, right-leaning media are pushing sensational headlines like, “Patriotic American truckers and consumers to strike against corrupt government.

After reading multiple articles about the protest, it is still unclear what, specifically, the truckers are angry about.

We spoke with Zeeda Andrews, one of the protest’s organizers. She shed some light on the complaints behind “Truckers Ride For The Constitution.”

“Truckers are concerned about their livelihood,” said Andrews.

According to Andrews, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently pushing a law that would require every trucker to have a tracking device in his or her vehicle. This device keeps track of mandatory breaks, idling time, and driving speed. “This is a privacy issue,” insisted Andrews. “[The Feds] can see and hear everything. They can even control how fast the truckers are driving at all times. It’s the trucking nanny.”

Many independent truckers like to keep their records by hand. This government-imposed tracking device merely limits truckers’ choice to keep hand-written records while stripping them of privacy.

The DOT is also trying to enforce idling laws, which prohibit truckers from idling unless they keep a pet inside their vehicle. These laws can be enforced using the tracking devices mentioned above. Andrews points out that idling restrictions become a health hazard when it’s 10 below zero out, and truckers need to warm up their cabs before hitting the road.

Obamacare is also having a drastic negative impact on truckers, according to Andrews. Many trucking companies are reducing workers’ hours to under 30 per week because they cannot afford to provide full health coverage (which, under Obamacare, will be mandatory for all full time employees). In the case of the trucking industry, this part of the new healthcare law hurts the trucker by limiting the hours he can work, and subsequently, lowering his pay. It also hurts employers by forcing them to either hire more part time employees (which is inefficient in the trucking industry), or provide expensive, full health coverage for all full time employees.

It’s a lose-lose situation.

These issues detailed by Andrews are just a few of the ways that truckers feel there is “corruption against the Constitution.” But you won’t read about them in the mainstream press.

Too often, the left/right paradigm limits information put out by media.

It is doubtful that the media will start focusing on the real causes of the protest anytime soon. Let’s face it — it’s just so much more fun to discuss impeachment and corruption than it is to talk about idling laws or healthcare mandates. Not to mention, it is easier to push political agendas when stories are wrapped around partisan headlines.

The media often does not care about giving us substantial information, so long as we click on their sensational headlines and make them more ad revenue.

Ironically, the same left/right paradigm may also have had an influence in shaping the truckers’ protest itself, which was initially spurred by seemingly justified complaints. The group’s initial Facebook page was banned from the web because part of its description said, “No amnesty, remove all Muslims in our government that do not uphold the Constitution.

Some Facebook users were offended by the sentence about Muslims. To them, it seemed like the truckers were singling out Muslims. Why remove only Muslims who violate the Constitution? Why not remove everyone, regardless of faith, who violates the Constitution?

It is easy to surmise, given the initial event description, that “Truckers Ride For The Constitution” could have been influenced by the left/right paradigm when it included that sentence into their general description.

We have seen several marches of this kind over recent years by different groups in Washington, D.C. Even if the march reached the million-man mark, or even if it slowed down traffic in D.C. for a day, is the protest likely to bring any real reform if those involved are not focused on the substantial, justified complaints that brought on the truckers’ protest in the first place?

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