She looks nice. Too bad that’s the smile of a bonkers, blissed out religious fanatic. “Coercion is not consent” is a nice sentiment, but that’s not what Ephesians 6:12 says. It says,
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
That’s a problem. She’s not supporting the truck convoy in Canada, she thinks she’s in a battle with vast supernatural powers. She’s not. The truckers use “FREEEEDOM!” as a slogan, but the protest is really about a bunch of well-off working class people trying to protect their privileges and pretend their bogus beliefs about viruses and vaccinations are valid. These are people who are cranky-ass babies who don’t want to get vaccinated against a disease that has killed about a million people in the US because their preachers or right-wing radio and television have told them not to. Under it all is…religion.
Christian sermons of varying lengths emanate regularly from the main flatbed stage on Wellington Street and from curbside preachers using microphones attached to portable speakers. Their words waft in the air and mix with the rumble of diesel engines and fumes, thumping dance music, the tinge of marijuana.
Starting Friday, “Jericho marches” began circling the parliamentary precinct every morning. The name refers to the Old Testament story of the Israelites walking around the walls of Jericho for seven days. On the seventh day, the Israelites marched seven times, blew rams horns and shouted. The walls came tumbling down.
This past Saturday, a woman draped in a Canadian flag led the march with a megaphone in hand.
“When we sing, enemies flee,” she said as she entered the grounds of Parliament Hill. “Hallelujah, hallelujah.”
The march then joined a mass of people gathered in formation to spell the word “freedom.”
It’s madness. Nothing but madness.
It’s not about freedom, or vaccines, or even just religion. This is a loony fringe of a fringe who are exploiting the fact that the powers-that-be, the police, the media — you know, the actual rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places — will give them loving attention and pander to their every whimper and whine. They really are spoiled babies who have discovered that tantrums will get them praise on their favored media.
It’s easy to shorthand these shambolic yet menacing gatherings as “anti-vaccine-mandate”—and they are, glancingly, the way the movie Robocop is about a robot cop, or Animal Farm is a study in zoology. The weeks-long occupation underway in Ottawa—its big rigs symbolizing the distilled essence of “white working class” mythology that cloaks these protests, nominally against vaccine mandates and coronavirus safety protocols, but in actuality accruing a vast baggage train of right-wing grievances and conspiracies—has become a memetic form, to be eagerly adopted and copied, as far as possible, all over the world. It’s worth noting that as vocal as they are, this is an extreme political minority: Canada’s population has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, at 80% fully vaccinated, and among truckers, the rate is even higher, at nearly 90%. As with any large-scale right-wing protest, the police have reacted with a profound lassitude that is tantamount to complicity, and it takes the most wide-eyed cop-boostering stance of centrist faux-ignorance to pretend that this is not solidarity but incompetence. Police have allowed certain menaces—from open fires to public urination to noise complaints to road blockades—to continue unabated, in the name of the protesters’ free speech. “In Ottawa Protests, a Pressing Question: Where Were the Police?” read a comical New York Times headline, manufacturing consent with a frenetic both-hands jerkoff motion.
The question of “why the police seemingly abandoned the country’s seat of power,” as the Times put it, is a question that answers itself: law enforcement apparatuses are a law unto themselves, fed strength by a neoliberal state that needs them to enforce its deadly inequalities. No one is watching the watchmen as they cheer from the sidelines, and that’s true on both sides of the border. Though the police have cleared a smaller bridge blockade that stopped trade between the U.S. and Canada for days in Windsor, Ontario, and seized a cache of guns on the border in Alberta, the Ottawa protests continue apace. Given the laxity that thus far has allowed the protest to grow in Ottawa, gain notoriety, proffer real menace (and so many racist and antisemitic hate crimes a hotline was set up to report them), and issue unhinged proclamations unfettered, imitator protests have already arisen in Canberra, Italy, London, Wellington, Paris, Jerusalem and elsewhere.
It’s a perversion of the concept of freedom. Freedom from responsibility? Freedom from criticism? Freedom to spread disease? Freedom to foul your diapers and let nanny change them? Freedom to believe and act on conspiracy theories?
You don’t have the freedom to afflict your neighbors, but that’s the only freedom conservatives actually want.
i know what most will say, but having seen both the March of COVIDiots in Ottawa and other protests over the last couple of years in Ottawa and at various provincial legislatures, I think most are wrong when they say if the protesters were not overwhelmingly white they would be treated very differently, I think that it is very incorrect. The police are treating these Rerich Wing Nutters exactly like the First Nations protesters in 2020 at the Manitoba Legislature. Pretty much the same tactics, despite the vandalism and trashing of the legislative grounds.
Despite the vandalism the police treated the protesters similar to how these COVIDiots are treated. In fact no charges were ever laid in that incident:
2022-02-18 10:30 ET
CBC reports tow trucks are arriving. Looks to be a lot of police from all over the place.
How can she hold a sign saying “coercion is not consent” as a biblical quote, when the entire premise of the religion is can be summed up as “love me or suffer for eternity in hellfire”? Does that sound like she’s consenting to be with Jesus of her free will, or is feeling a little blackmailed into it? One could say…coerced into her beliefs on threat of pain and suffering?
How ironic. Or moronic. Either works.
SC (Salty Current) says
Here’s the odious Sean Feucht speaking last year (about an hour in):
The standard Christian line is that he’s twisting the words, which were about separating human, physical battles from spiritual battles, but the verse itself is pretty ambiguous, and early Christians were keen to conflate the two, with violent and destructive results.
Howard Brazee says
Your Liberty To Swing Your Fist Ends Just Where My Nose Begins…
Liberty is important. If they want to argue that they should have the right to shop pantless, I don’t have a good counter-argument. Going pantless does not endanger others. As long as they don’t spread a pandemic, of course.
A teacher posted on social media a few things that show the protesters don’t know what they are talking about, and should have paid attention in school:
– the PM, and federal government in Ottawa, has nothing to do with lockdowns. That is a provincial responsibility, so they should be protesting the Ontario provincial government in Toronto.
– the “must be vaxxed” policy comes from the American government, not Canada
– rights and freedoms are subject to “reasonable limits”, decided/defined by the Supreme Court of Canada, not the PM or government(s)
Unfortunately the media doesn’t research these things or point them out.
Pierce R. Butler says
Howard Brazee @ # 5: Your Liberty To Swing Your Fist Ends Just Where My Nose Begins…
Actually, no. Self-defense laws allow you to defend yourself with whatever violence seems appropriate as soon as you see my fist swinging towards your face.
BY which analogy Ottawa’s government appears to have given full consent to the current pummeling from the “truckers”.
Rob Grigjanis says
There are federal vaccine mandates for federal public servants, cross-border essential workers (like truckers), and federally regulated transportation sectors (including travellers). Mandates for healthcare workers are up to the provinces.
Green Eagle says
“When we sing, enemies flee”
I can empathize. When I sing, everybody flees.
The ideas of individual freedom and bodily autonomy (for conservative white people) seem popular among Western Christians, regardless of whether they’re compatible with Christian philosophy.
This woman appears to be some sort of Christian extremist cultist whose life revolves around fighting a fantasy war against demons. People who hang out in this protest have varying motivations, but it seems they’ve been mostly instructed to present a “public face” message that’s against vaccine mandates. Underneath that facade, there is all kinds of networking going on between fascists, religious extremists, conspiracy theorists, rightwing grifters and people who just like to harass others.
Referring to a random bible verse can make almost any message look like it’s biblically inspired, if not a direct quote (since normally almost nobody will know or check out the verse). It certainly signals that you’re a Christian, especially to fellow believers (who aren’t necessarily extremist weirdos). I think possibly, in this case, Ephesians 6:12 is also a very well known stock verse among the demon-fighting cultists, and randomly referring it might serve as an in-group recognition dogwhistle.
Ed Seedhouse says
It’s odd watching the police clearing a “demonstration” and cheering for them. But of course it’s not a “demonstration”. It’s and armed and violent occupation and insurrection of the Capital city of my country.
As the police move in these heroes are putting their children between them and the cops.
The heroes are making their last stand by building a wall of snow! Yeah, that’ll totally work. Are they getting advice from der Trumpfer?
Deep Myth says
Excellent points by @6.
Having lived in Texas though, sometimes the lack of policing isn’t always because officials/police have secret sympathies. It’s because there is hell to pay for crossing certain people backing the protestors. But it’s a difference which doesn’t matter eventually. Everyone is groomed into handwaving affronts from toxic people. The climate of fear grows when there is no stopping boundary, and then there is even less courage to stop scary people.
So where do all these people go to the bathroom?
Tabby Lavalamp says
Here in Edmonton we had some counter protesters stand on the road to block the convoy and you know the police shut that down fast.
Rich Woods says
Walk towards the nearest line of trees and look for freestanding yellow icicles. And watch where you tread.
they do not have the courage to say what they really mean so they just shout freedom but every one knows that they mean “freedom for me but not for thee” where thee is anyone who they disagree with or do not like for what ever reason.
Richard Smith says
My younger brother works as a cameraman for the CBC, and is currently at Parliament Hill covering the clearing-out. Definitely hoping that all goes smoothly and fairly peacefully.
John Morales says
What gets me is that, in theory, truckers earn a living by, um, trucking stuff.
These people aren’t trucking stuff.
Rob Grigjanis says
Lessons seemingly, as yet, unlearned in Canada (and elsewhere):
Take domestic terrorism seriously.
Never, ever, vote for the fucking Conservatives.
SC (Salty Current) says
I posted this on the Infinite Thread: Mack Lamoureux is livetweeting the attempt to clear out the Ottawa Occupiers.
From about 45 minutes ago: “#FreedomConvoy protestors have been pushed back further on the last hour than they were all day.”
So the Christian Taliban are circling the Parliament emulating Joshua and his followers who committed mass murder of the people of Jericho on God’s orders. Well maybe the authorities should pre-empt their attempts to destroy the country and as they circle on the seventh day send in a drone strike like they would do to ISIS.
That would require a wedding, hospital, or school, and children, to be effective. If you don’t blow up passers-by & civilians your drone strike isn’t sufficiently extrajudicial.
Any day now, I expect the anti-vaxxers to refer to the wisdom and insight of Nick Redfern, the fact-checker for the History Channel’s Bigfoot documentary.
“This is the worst infringment of human rights since WWII and… Sauron, probably”.
Redfern- for when the ordinary kooks st Fox are too sane.
Akira MacKenzie says
Freedom to pollute. Freedom to hurl racial and sexual slurs. Freedom to amass grotesque amounts of wealth. Freedom to spread lies. Freedom to murder brown people.
I have soured on the concept of freedom.
Howard Brazee says
The anti-vax movement on the right isn’t really about religion. It’s about politics. And that politics is about identity. Ever since the right-wing churches discovered that they could get power by going after abortion (when they failed to have tax-free all-white colleges), they have gone identity politics full time, even to the extent of pretending that Donald Trump was a good Christian (well, he’s the epitome of what they are).
In the long run, when the King and Bishop are on the same side, when one loses, they both lose. But none of them are looking at the long term, or they would be in favor of being stewards of our planet.
The anti-vax people sound just like the pro-gun people, as they condemn the left for being selfish and corrupt… because obviously everybody’s selfish and corrupt.
So what is terminally confused Pillow Guy going to do with his helicopter full of pillows now? And aren’t pillows like the object least likely to require a parachute?
The good news as of today, Sunday the 20th, is that the entire downtown section of Ottawa has been cleared of the Terrorist Truckers, over 170 have been arrested, over 50 vehicles have been towed, and the arrested leaders are all being held, other than one whose condition of release was that he leave the Ottawa area and not come back.
Plus, the mayor has said that in his view, the city has the legal right to confiscate the trucks and sell them to help cover the policing bills.