As Texas Gov. Greg Abbott duels with the Border Patrol and the Supreme Court over his right to drown migrant children with the help of razor wire, Republican governors have been sending in the troops to back the state’s horrific efforts. But that isn’t good enough for most of the MAGA contingent. Online organizers calling themselves ”Take Our Border Back” have been promising to bring ”over 700,000” semitrucks from across the United States and Canada to three locations along the southern border so they can fight the “illegal invasion.”
The average semi is over 72 feet long, so 700,000 of them would represent 9,545 miles of 16-wheelers. That would be enough to line the entire U.S.-Mexico border almost five times over. Only it looks like the convoy is going to be about 9,544.5 miles short of its goal. Because as the convoy departed for the border cities of: Eagle Pass, Texas; Yuma, Arizona; and San Ysidro, California, only a few dozen participants had turned up.
There are two good reasons for the shortfall: 1) the organizers were lying from the start and 2) these “patriots” are all so unstable they became convinced that their own convoy was an FBI sting operation.
By last week, members of the convoy had dubbed themselves “God’s army.” But they don’t seem to have received any divine assistance.
It’s unclear where the 700,000 number came from in the first place, but it’s ridiculous. For one thing, there are only 4.06 million semis in service in America. Getting 700,000 of them to the border would require enlisting almost 1 of 6 trucks now delivering goods across the nation, and most of those are owned by trucking companies who don’t seem likely to put their businesses on hold so Abbott can escalate his scuffle with the Supreme Court.
In their promotions of the convoy, organizers and right-wing media used images from the 2022 “People’s Convoy” which itself managed only about 1,000 vehicles, most of them private pickups or cars. After a month of pointless driving around the perimeter of Washington, D.C., and slowing vehicles on the Beltway, that convoy fell apart, having achieved absolutely nothing other than ending with a few arrests and the leaders running away. Another call for a big trucker rally in Washington, D.C., completely fizzled.
Amassing 700,000 trucks was never more than a fantasy. It was a number spit out to make right-wing media give the organizers some desired attention and maybe convince a few of the most gullible to open their wallets. The group certainly has gotten attention on the right and according to Yahoo News, convoy organizers have raised $138,000. That’s enough to put one tank of gas in about 300 semis … if they had 300 semis actually participating.
But as Wired reports, only about 20 vehicles showed up at the convoy’s Jacksonville, Florida, starting point—a bit shy of the 40,000 predicted for that location. Not one of those vehicles was a semi. Before the sad caravan even got underway, tires were slashed, people got lost, and the convoy was “a complete mess.”
It’s been a mess all along. As Raw Story reported on Monday, the underperforming convoy has been further decimated by rumors that this whole thing is an FBI “honeypot.” Worries that they could all be headed for a trap spread readily through a group that was also convinced that Jan. 6 was a trap. At what was supposed to be the convoy’s main starting point, Virginia Beach, Virginia, only “a few dozen” vehicles of any type made an appearance.
Strangely, the Yahoo story seems to paint the convoy as a success. It talks up the donations and how the group quickly grew “its following on Telegram from around 1,000 over the weekend to more than 3,000 as of Tuesday.” What went unmentioned is that Telegram was founded in Russia, has been a primary means of distributing Russian propaganda, and its channels are overrun with Russian intelligence and troll farms. The Russian government loves the story of Texas confounding the U.S. at the border and is pushing hard to play up the story on social media.
In short, it’s not hard to guess where the convoy’s burst of fresh support originated.
However, back in the real world, the convoy suffers a distinct shortage of everything that would make it a convoy. Organizers have even changed their minds about actually going near the area of the actual dispute between Abbott and the Border Patrol. Instead, they seem to be targeting the village of Quemado, Texas. Population: 71.
It does look like there’s a good Mexican restaurant in town. So maybe they’ll drop in.
In the meantime, “God’s army” may be passing through your town in the next few days. Though it wouldn’t be surprising if you missed it.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.