Truck nuts.

Hoo boy! Turns out if you want to rile up the right-wing “fringe” on the Prairies, there’s no faster way to do so then to attack their pick-up trucks!

A little context: the “Toronto Globe an Mail” – as Premier Jason Kenney has taken to calling it – ran a story this past weekend despite the explosion in people buying pick-up trucks and large SUVs in recent years, almost none of those new truck owners actually use their trucks for, ya know, truck stuff.

Just how many trucks are there? Well, the Globe article provides a visually compelling assessment:

“If you lined up all the F-150s sold in 2019 nose to tail, and then flew the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane overhead at its top operational speed of 3,500 kilometres an hour, it would take about an hour and a half for the plane to cover all 896,526 of them.”

Brendan McAleer

So, ya know, a lotta trucks.

And how little do these trucks get used for, ya know, truck stuff? Well:

“What spectacular overkill. One survey found that three quarters of pickup drivers used the vehicles for hauling only one time or not at all in the course of an average year. Despite all those ads showing manly pickups growling up mountain roads or churning through mud, nearly as few drivers used them to go off road.”

Globe & Mail

So that’s the crux of the article: more and more people are buying big trucks, trucks are planet killers (and bad for other drivers) and basically nobody uses them for their intended purpose – truck shit.

Now, while the article was definitely a bit on the urbanist side (certainly the folks I grew up with in rural Nova Scotia loved their trucks but generally used them for, again, truck stuff), the data is pretty straight forward and objectively irrefutable.

And there was no suggestion that those who own trucks and use them for their intended purposes should cease to do so.

However, never ones to be troubled with facts and objectivity, the Premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan appear to have lost their ever-loving minds about this assault on “their peoples'” trucks.

First there was Scott Moe of Saskatchewan:

That’s right, in the midst of a pandemic, an ongoing crash in their oil industry and a summer of draught that will leave farmers’ in the worst position in years, the Premier felt the need to defend people who needlessly drive trucks.

Not to be out-stupided, Alberta’s Jason Kenney offered a nearly identical tweet singling out the “Toronto Globe & Mail” (first time anyone can find record of him inserting the home city of the country’s national newspaper) and then went a step further by updating his avatar to a picture of him in a truck:

Now, if Moe’s province is facing some challenges, Kenney’s is bordering on collapse. In addition to all the issues facing its neighbour, Alberta has an even higher reliance on oil and gas to fund its provincial coffers (what with still refusing to have any sort of provincial sales tax like every other province in the country) and – after Kenney declared that Covid was over by opening the Calgary Stampede for business, Alberta is also working on what looks like a 4th wave.

But hey! those are just details! What matters is truck nuts/z.

What’s fascinating about this is the context in which it is all happening. The volume of ring-wing trolls on social media decrying – nay, eulogizing! – the decline of civilization based on the tendency of progressives to engage in “identity politics” would fill the Grand Canyon.

To those folks – folks who, to be clear, are better known as “the base” to both Moe and Kenney – tend to rage about “identity politics” almost always raise their concerns when it has to do with attempts to assist traditionally marginalized people: people of colour, women, Indigenous People, LGBTQ2+ folks, etc.

But turns out those same folks have absolutely no issue using their trucks as the basis of their own political identities. It seems their fragile, toxic masculinity is so thin, they can’t handle the slightest scrutiny.

Poor snowflakes.

This degree of hypocrisy is amusing to those of us on the left who endure the online nonsense on a daily basis but it actually provides some pretty useful understanding of the opposition – something that should never be discounted.

With a federal election almost certainly on the way in the coming weeks the parties of the left – especially the Federal Liberals – would be wise take advantage of this insight into the minds of both their political opponents and those they hope to woo in certain parts of the country.

Crazy as it seems to most of us, that “identity” for truck-driving, manly man-ness of what are now mainstream C/conservative voters is just as to them any other. Attacking that identity is almost certain to alienate that voting pool beyond repair.

Now, if that’s the objective, cool.

But if there’s any chance of getting them in the tent in places like Atlantic Canada, rural Ontario, the BC interior and so on, then best to leave the truck nuts alone . . . . for now.