Randy Jackson, a trucker from Haines, Alaska, said he plans to continue standing in solidarity with the hundreds of truckers and thousands of supporters from across the nation who have gathered outside Washington, D.C. They are demanding an end to the Biden administration’s wanton abuse of the National Emergencies Act.
Stationed for the past week at Hagerstown Speedway, about an hour’s drive from DC, Jackson and his fellow protesters make daily trips around the nation’s capital, flying flags, honking horns and demanding accountability for what they see as unlawful and dangerous Covid policies and mandates that have been imposed on Americans.
In addition to removing the president’s broad emergency powers, the convoy wants lawmakers to conduct oversight investigations and hold individuals accountable for damages that they have caused, not just economic but also injuries from adverse reactions to Covid shot mandates, including jabs imposed on military personnel. They are now calling on Americans from across the United States to take similar actions on the state and local levels.
If I don’t stay and stand with these people and continue this fight, I may not have a job next year, and we may never get our freedoms back.
Jackson, who works as a truck driver, barge wrangler and equipment operator for Trucano Construction in Southeast Alaska, said he arrived outside of D.C. a week ago, driving a Dodge pickup truck and towing a fifth-wheel trailer. He joined the “People’s Convoy” in Texas and eventually merged with other vehicles that have traveled across the nation to join the movement. At one point there were more than 30 Alaskan participants driving trucks, RVs and cars.
The massive civil protest has now gained the attention of Congress. On March 9, Sen. Ted Cruz spoke to truckers at Hagerstown Speedway, and then rode shotgun in the lead truck as the convoy encircled D.C.
On March 11, Jackson plans to speak directly with Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan at 5 p.m. Alaska time. The meeting will be livestreamed on Jackson’s personal Facebook page.
He’s also trying to set up meetings with Rep. Don Young and Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Jackson said the entire experience has been enlightening and deeply inspiring.
Throughout the road trip, innumerable Americans have volunteered time, money and resources to make the protest possible. They’ve provided food, parking and funding throughout. Many more have gathered alongside roads and overpasses with flags, signs and prayers.
“There was really an amazing about of support – thousands of people in the concentrated areas,” Jackson recalled. “It was amazing to see the flags, the signs, the support. You’d see people on the overpasses with firetrucks, ambulances, crane rigs holding up massive flags, hog-and cattle trailers with a big flag dangling down over the overpass. Then, you might see a mom and her daughters standing in a field with a flag. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, supporting us.
At Hagerstown Speedway Jackson said there are several eight-foot-tall rows – 100 feet long – of food and provisions that were donated to the convoy. Volunteers prepare breakfast and supper, including stew, tacos, fried chicken, sandwiches and much more.
Other participants are parked on smaller parcels of private land which property owners have made available to trucks all around D.C.
Like many truckers, Jackson noted that there is a financial sacrifice to continuing the protest, especially if his boss calls him back to work.
“But if I don’t stay and stand with these people and continue this fight, I may not have a job next year, and we may never get our freedoms back,” he said. “There’s a lot of sacrifices being made – that’s where we’re at right now.”
As the days wear on, Jackson said many protesters have had to leave and head back to family or work obligations.
“It’s kind of a flux,” he said. “We’ve had people leaving but then others join. We just had a hundred come in from Utah, Nevada and Idaho, which filled in the gap for the 30 or 40 people who left.”
For those who do head home, Jackson said there are plans afoot to mobilize local protests in state capitals nationwide.
“We’re calling on our supporters to go to their state capitols and make their voices heard and make the same statements,” he said. “Our governments have been given special powers because of what they claim is necessary to deal with Covid, and they have abused it. Those powers need to be taken back.”
“We have seen what happens when governments, whether at the state, county or municipal level, take this power in their hands based on an emergency that’s not an emergency anymore,” he added. “We know with Covid that they were misinformed, and they are still misinforming the public about the dangers and the treatments.”
Overall, Jackson described his convoy experience as profound and eye opening. He said the truckers hold nightly meetings, break bread and engage in lively conversation around the camp. A number of public officials and state representatives have also addressed the group.
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In addition to the camaraderie, Jackson hasn’t experienced or heard of any negative interactions with either law enforcement or the 700 National Guard troops who are deployed in D.C. Rather, law enforcement officials have worked well with the truckers, even meeting with convoy security detail to see how things are going, and providing police escorts during the rolling rallies.
They’ve also seen strong backing from pastors and religious groups throughout.
“We’ve had Baptists, Presbyterians, a couple of Catholic priests who blessed the trucks – it’s a pretty good spectrum of religious representation,” Jackson said. “A large group of our people may not be devout Christians, but they have some Christian belief. We regularly have prayer openings, pledge of allegiance and national anthem, and there has been a real ground swell of conservative Christians coming out everywhere we stop.”
Men and women from all social, ethnic and racial backgrounds have gone out of their way to show solidarity – bringing food, sharing meals and joining in conversation.
“A huge diversity of America is supporting this,” he said. “As far as the racial aspect, nobody cares. Everyone knows we’re all in this fight together.”