Whether the truckers who’ve shut down parts of Ottawa, Canada and the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada, are winning the debate over vaccine mandates or not, I suspect they aren’t winning the hearts and minds of some people they might otherwise be able to convince to support them.
To be clear, I am in favor of vaccine mandates — I think they would help end the pandemic by getting more people vaccinated as well as ease the strain on the healthcare system, and I think the “my body, my choice” argument rings hollow here since a person’s choice to not get vaccinated could lead to potentially deadly consequences. Meanwhile, our own Matt disagrees with me, and that’s fine — reasonable people can disagree reasonably.
But this post isn’t an argument in favor of or against mandates. Instead, I’d like to point out that if you want to get people on your side of a debate, perhaps choking supply chains, delaying the shipment of goods, and pissing off the locals isn’t the way to do it.
Especially if you’re pissing off small-business owners who have already struggled due to the pandemic and the restrictions that are meant to slow the spread of the virus. While I’ve generally been in favor of restrictions, as long as they are grounded in science, it’s undeniable that restrictions have hurt businesses. So, too, has the mere presence of the virus — even in places where restrictions are few, people may choose to stay home for safety.
So, if you’re goal is to get people on your side in a protest against mandates, you might not want to shut down their city so much that they can’t serve customers. Or shut down a bridge that is used to ship auto parts across the border, thus hurting supply chains at a time that those same supply chains are already hurting due to the semiconductor-chip shortage.
Yes, it’s true that the NYT piece linked above can’t possibly represent the opinion of every Ottawan who’s dealing with the convoy. After all, the piece only quotes two business owners, and one seems angrier at the Canadian government for not managing the protests than he is with the truckers.
A cynic might suggest that the NYT might have only quoted those who supported its premise or that the reporter just didn’t make an effort to talk to enough people. I doubt the former is the case — the linked article is just a short blurb in a blog that’s updating different aspects of the situation in something like real-time, and it’s possible no one else wanted to talk to the paper.
Whatever the case may be, at least two Ottawa business owners are pissed off that the protests are hurting their business. Seems to me that if I was an anti-mandate trucker, I’d not want to anger those who might otherwise support me against the government.
To be clear, I am all for protesting — even if I don’t agree with the ideology of the protesters — and I am glad that in America, at least, the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in our Constitution. I’m just saying that there’s a way to protest that persuades, and a way that pisses people off.
I wonder if the truckers who are causing the worst trouble are aware of the difference.
[Image © Darryl Barton/Shutterstock.com]
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