Conservatives love trumpeting America’s exceptionalism, and there are some aspects of America that are remarkable, but the intelligence level of a segment of the population is certainly not exceptional. In fact, any immigrant that passed the test to become a citizen has a better grasp on the practical aspects of citizenship, and the rights and duties to each other as members of American society than most Americans. More than anything, a naturalized citizen understands how the government operates according to the United States Constitution, and regardless their claim to strictly adhere to its tenets, conservatives have no comprehension of the nation’s founding document. This weekend a group of vigilante truck drivers will set upon Washington to demonstrate that when it comes to Constitutional ignorance, they have few peers outside the Republican Party.
The truckers calling themselves “Truckers for the Constitution” plan to shut down I-495 until law enforcement arrests Democratic legislators who “violated their oath of office” and “disregard the Constitution.” (Editor’s Note: The truckers have since walked back this threat.)The rally’s coordinators say truckers are sick and tired of EPA fuel efficiency standards, the Affordable Care Act, state and local laws regarding idling their trucks, and “insurance companies purportedly requiring technological updates.” The vigilante truckers plan to drive three abreast on the “Beltway” that circles Washington to obstruct traffic except for drivers who have “T2SDA” written on their vehicle. T2SDA is an acronym for the tractor-trailer drivers’ name for their event, “Truckers to Shut Down America.” According to Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker, “everybody that doesn’t have a supporter sticker on their window, good luck: Nobody in, nobody out” and likely they will incur a response from law enforcement for trapping motorists on a federal highway.
Conlon warned law enforcement in advance that if they do not allow the truckers to obstruct traffic, they will “lock the brakes up, and stop right there, we’re going to be a three lane roadblock.” A country singer affiliated with the truck drivers claimed they will present their demands to congressional representatives and if they agree to the truckers’ demands they will cancel the road block. It is unclear why the truckers believe blocking a major thoroughfare will eliminate EPA regulations, insurance industry requirements, and the health law, or what they have to do with the Constitution or Democrats violating their oath of office, but they “want these people arrested, and we’re coming in with the grand jury to do it. We are going to ask the law enforcement to uphold their constitutional oath and make these arrests. If they refuse to do it, by the power of the people of the United States and the people’s grand jury, [if] they don’t want to do it, we will. … We the people will find a way.” It is the second time in less than a month that extremist conservatives cited vigilante grand juries as a means of clearing Democrats out of government and throwing them in prison.
About three weeks ago another conservative vigilante warned of the impending consequences from the “people’s grand juries” and announced plans to march on the White House sometime close to Thanksgiving and demand that President Obama surrender to religious teabaggers. Larry Klayman believes a million extremists will surround the White House and chant “Mr. President, put the Quran down, get up off your knees, and come out with your hands up” because “Republicans, the judicial system, and government officials lack the will or courage to remove the mullah-in-chief from office.” The tractor-trailer drivers claim they are not demanding the President’s impeachment and only want to arrest legislators such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara Boxer because they disregard the Constitution and violate their oath of office according to indictments handed down by “the people’s grand juries.”
A “people’s grand jury” is a non-actionable, non-governmental vigilante organization assuming responsibility to indict an individual or groups of individuals of committing actionable crimes similar to an official grand jury. People’s grand juries are favored by conspiracy theorists like those seated to challenge President Obama’s birth certificate, and are loosely based on the Fifth Amendment premise that “no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.” A band of jurors convened without court approval has no standing or authority to indict or issue arrest warrants for public officials, and law enforcement certainly will not recognize or execute a fake indictment, but that is of no consequence to constitutionally ignorant vigilantes.
It is unclear why conservatives became so obsessed with enforcing their version of the Constitution through vigilantism, but it likely has everything to do with an African American President. One also wonders if the “constitutional genius” truck drivers comprehend that the laws and agencies they so despise were passed and executed according to the real U.S. Constitution, because their not-so-veiled threats imply they have legitimate legal standing to take the law into their own hands.
Like the extremist who intends on marching on the White House, the vigilante truckers’ organizer leveled a veiled threat of violence if they are held to the laws of the road or prohibition on kidnapping U.S. Representatives to Congress. The man organizing the million person assault on the White House to arrest President Obama said, “I do not advocate violence, but it is time we show Obama that we mean business,” and the vigilante truckers’ spokesperson parroted Klayman only with stronger language. He said, “What we want to do is go in nice and peaceful and keep it as peaceful as possible… but if they decide to get ugly with us we’re going to do what we have to do. If all I get is one or two congressmen walked out of there in handcuffs, that will be a shot across the bow. I hope they are all civil enough and brave enough to step out onto the congressional steps.”
It is highly probable that if a vigilante gang parks in front of the Capital building waiting for congressional representatives to step out on the “congressional steps,” they will be accompanied by federal law enforcement officials who will not take kindly to vigilante truckers attempting to kidnap U.S. Representatives based on phony indictments from an equally phony people’s grand jury. However, at the rate extremist conservatives and so-called constitutional adherents are threatening Democratic representatives and President Obama with arrest, it is entirely possible they will come to Washington heavily armed and looking for trouble. It is, after all, what constitutionally ignorant vigilantes are prone to do and when they do start trouble, they can be certain a real grand jury will hand down real indictments for insurrection against the government of the United States.