Terrifying truck drivers result in fences going back up on Capitol Hill

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Apparently, we’re seeing more examples of the “new normal” in Washington, DC, but it has little to do with COVID fears, except in a tangential way. The fences are going back up around Capitol Hill, after finally being taken down for a short time. Are the officials there fearful of Russians staging a sneak attack in response to all of the new sanctions we’ve hit them with? Or perhaps a group of unhinged leftists seeking to repaint the White House because they object to both the name and the color? Nope. They are preparing for the onslaught of a group of truck drivers and their supporters who wish to protest government vaccine and mask mandates. And they seem to be particularly worried about security surrounding Tuesday’s State of the Union address, which is rather odd because the truckers aren’t scheduled to arrive until several days after that. (WaPo)

Fencing around the U.S. Capitol is being reinstalled in advance of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, authorities announced Sunday, in a statement that also referred to potential protests in the city over the next two weeks.

The decision was made “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the Capitol Police, who have long been preparing for the possible arrival of trucks inspired by the “Freedom Convoy” that occupied downtown Ottawa for more than three weeks to protest vaccine mandates.

The self-titled “People’s Convoy,” a U.S.-based group of activists also opposed to vaccine mandates, left from Southern California on Feb. 23 for a cross-country trip. They plan to arrive in the region March 5, but organizers have emphasized that they intend to target the Beltway and not travel into the city.

The main body of the Freedom Convoy isn’t expected to arrive until March 5th, days after the SOTU address. There are apparently some smaller groups associated with the convoy that may arrive in time for the speech, but that’s not unusual. The intelligence that’s been gathered about the protesters (which would be an alarming thing to say in previous times) is reportedly confused, with different people discussing different plans and schedules. So the Capitol Hill Police don’t really have any idea how many people are coming or when they will be there.

There’s also the fact that the Freedom Convoy hasn’t indicated any plans to come into the Capitol Hill district at all. They want to shut down the Beltway. To be clear (though I’ve said it here repeatedly), I do not condone shutting down traffic as a legitimate form of free speech no matter what issue you are trying to draw awareness to. You’re shutting down commerce and potentially endangering lives by holding up emergency response vehicles by doing so. But the authorities should be focusing on where the actual issue is expected to occur.

The Capitol Hill Police released a statement saying that these precautions are intended to “prevent any disruption to the important work of Congress.” I suppose that’s fair enough as generic statements go, assuming you think there’s actually any important work going on at the moment. But they are also bringing in outside federal law enforcement personnel and the National Guard. Are they preparing for a protest or a war?

The bigger question I wanted to ask here in advance of the SOTU address is whether or not the January 6th riot of last year has now made this the standing practice we’re going to see in Washington. Yes, a bunch of people rioted and caused some significant damage. But it also seems to have been a one-off event. Plenty of people have come to Washington since then to raise their voices and no similar occurrences have taken place. And what indication do we have that such a thing is likely to happen again now?

Is this our government’s new, standard response to people exercising their right to peacefully assemble and make their voices heard? If that’s the case, then why bother ever taking the fences down? If the government is this terrified of the objections of the people to some of its policies (not that I’m saying that’s an entirely bad thing), perhaps they should take a fresh look at some of those policies, no? The Capitol Hill region managed to survive for literally more than a century without needing these sorts of security adornments making the area look more like a prison than the People’s House. And if this is the new normal, perhaps the stability of our government actually is in more trouble than I’d thought up until now.

Trending on HotAir Videos