As I explore the present, I can’t avoid comparing it to the past. The names change. The places and faces are never identical. But like a false backdrop behind the camera in a Zoom call, it’s only cosmetic. Essential reality never changes.
For instance, on March 7, 1965, a group of voting rights demonstrators blocked traffic as they walked across Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. The marchers did not have a permit; so, the police ordered them to disperse. The marchers disobeyed the police and marched anyway. The result was called Bloody Sunday.
Similarly, a group of Canadian truckers blocked the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan. They were protesting for the restoration of their fundamental freedom to determine the extent of their own medical care. As this column is written, the authorities, perhaps less violently than in 1965 but just as decisively, are preparing to break up the truckers’ protest.
Will it be another Bloody Sunday? No one knows. Yet, that is not the point. As on Bloody Sunday the ruling class will try to crush the flowering working class in the name of “democracy.” So, we ask as Pete Seeger asked, “When will they ever learn?”
The Bible warns government in Psalms 37:11, “The meek shall inherit…” The result will be “the abundance of peace,” not burning down buildings like ANTIFA did or deploying “Billy clubs” and handcuffs like Trudeau’s paramilitary. Unfortunately, the ruling elite always default to “knocking heads” or simply denying the meek their essentials such as food, gasoline and the freedom to honk a horn in peaceful protest.
Should we vilify government? Government controllers are acting as they have always done. American Homeland Security is joining with Facebook and Twitter in a Fascist union of government and industry to block the working-class protesters on both sides of the Great Lakes. Nothing is new.
On July 28, 1932, a group of World War I veterans called “Bonus Marchers” converged on Washington, D.C. They were peacefully demanding what we would call today a “stimulus payment” to blunt the reality of the Great Depression.
Like today’s Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, yesterday’s Herbert Hoover had enough of what he considered an occupation of Washington, D.C. With bayonets. tear gas and only Major Dwight Eisenhower in opposition, Hoover ordered General Douglas McArthur and Major George Patton to evict the protestors. MacArthur was convinced that it was a Communist-inspired “insurrection” attempting to overthrow the federal government. Hence, Hoover and MacArthur felt justified in the resulting 55 injuries, 135 arrests and two deaths.
No, 1932 is not 2022. But, in 1932 as part of that Bonus March Insurrection, police officer George Shinault shot and killed two veteran “trespassing protestors.” That event was all too similar to the killing of veteran Ashli Babbit by a Capitol police officer on January 6, 2021. Do those events foretell the manner in which the American and Canadian governments will treat the truckers today?
It’s not all that complicated. As songwriter Noel Harrison wrote, such events are “like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel.” They rarely change. The formula is the same. 1) The meek challenge the land of the elite; 2) the elite label the meek as ‘insurrectionists” — “communists in 1932”, Nazi racists in 2022 — and, 3) the elite then utilize their police power together with their monopoly on legally-carried firearms to crush the protest.
The formula rarely varies. Only history judges the result.
At present, those results are mixed. In the case of the violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, history quickly condemned the beatings on Bloody Sunday. Unfortunately, that same history never quite caught up with Patton or MacArthur. When it comes to Ashli Babbit and January 6, the “jury is still out.”
So, what about the truckers? Well, most of us who read the Bible want to side with the meek. Even agnostics would rather be a trucker than a “thug” for Justin Trudeau. Most of us believe in free speech and the right to peaceably assemble. Most of us will support those rights. But as for the government, Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau should remember that those, like Hoover, who support the wrong side of freedom generally lose the next election.
“When will they ever learn?”