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Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy To Bill Maher: Trucker Protests In Canada ‘An Uprising Of Everyday Citizens’

Last updated on February 12, 2022

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy told HBO host Bill Maher on Friday that the trucker protests in Canada were not a Left or Right issue, and that it was about everyday citizens rising up against overreaching governments.

“Look, I think it is about something more; if you think this is about vaccine mandates, or about white supremacy, you’re missing the point. And this isn’t a Left or Right issue,” Ramaswamy, a founder of multi-billion dollar companies, said. “This is about an uprising of everyday citizens in democracies around the world. It’s not just Canada, it’s not the United States, it’s western Europe, too, rising against the biggest threat to actual democracy, which I think is the rise of this managerial class in democracies around the world that are crushing the will of everyday people through bureaucracies.”

“And it’s the same people, by the way, Bill, who staff corporate boards of directors, who end up as associate deans of universities, who then end up being appointed as diplomats abroad,” he continued. “These are the unelected class of leaders that ultimately, I think, are using their bureaucratic power to supplant the will of everyday, not only Americans, but Canadians and western Europeans, too. And that’s why we’re seeing a fusion of both the Left and the Right here saying that actually, we want our voices heard. We want to be able to speak without fear of putting food on the dinner table. And you know what? The beautiful thing about a democracy is that so far, thank God, this has been a peaceful set of protests. I hope it says stays that way. That’s part of the messiness of democracy. That’s part of what makes it beautiful.”

“And so, I was a biotech CEO after the George — when the George Floyd protests played out in 2020,” he later added. “I was still a biotech CEO back then, back then, every institutional elite in America, in other countries around the world, but especially in America, would step up and say what we need to do is we need to listen and open our hearts and minds. And I think those same institutional leaders would now do well to take a page from that playbook and listening to these truckers.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

BILL MAHER, HBO HOST: All right. So I want to talk about Canada to start off because I feel like the eyes of the world are on them and we don’t talk about Canada enough. We should, because our show has been on in Canada for a long time. But we’re so, you know, Americans [we’re] chauvinistic about our own country, this stuff going on up there, well now everybody’s looking at Canada because there’s this giant trucker protest, I guess. See, I wasn’t that into it for the first couple of weeks because it … looked like it was just a small group of people, and it is a minority, it was first about vaccine mandates the truckers have to get, 90% are vaccinated. But they’re crossing the border. This goes both ways. Some of them then when they started the protests had Nazi flags, which of course, is going to look bad and is bad. … Sometimes the Nazi flag means I’m a Nazi and sometimes it means you’re a Nazi. I’m calling you a Nazi. So, I don’t know what this is, but it’s not the most of the people there. What’s happening this week, it looks like, is people are understanding that this is about something more than just the vaccine mandate. It’s becoming a big thing. It’s happening all over the world now. They think it might happen here in Washington on Super Bowl Sunday. Do you agree it’s about something more? And if so what?

VIVEK RAMASWAMY: Look, I think it is about something more; if you think this is about vaccine mandates, or about white supremacy, you’re missing the point. And this isn’t a Left or Right issue. This is about an uprising of everyday citizens in democracies around the world. It’s not just Canada, it’s not the United States, it’s western Europe, too, rising against the biggest threat to actual democracy, which I think is the rise of this managerial class in democracies around the world that are crushing the will of everyday people through bureaucracies. And it’s the same people, by the way, Bill, who staff corporate boards of directors, who end up as associate deans of universities, who then end up being appointed as diplomats abroad. These are the unelected class of leaders that ultimately, I think, are using their bureaucratic power to supplant the will of everyday, not only Americans, but Canadians and western Europeans, too. And that’s why we’re seeing a fusion of both the Left and the Right here saying that actually, we want our voices heard. We want to be able to speak without fear of putting food on the dinner table. And you know what? The beautiful thing about a democracy is that so far, thank God, this has been a peaceful set of protests. I hope it says stays that way. That’s part of the messiness of democracy. That’s part of what makes it beautiful.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON: I believe that democracy is messy, and that’s the price you pay in a way for a free society, as long as we’re going to honor free expression, protest is important, but also protest is inherently disruptive. So the line we have to find for ourselves is where does disruption become harm? These people have spoken, they have expressed themselves, they have a lot of passion behind their message, obviously, and what the Canadian government and any government has to then balance is, at what point does this now move over into more than your grievances, but the grievances of people, such as workers in Detroit and elsewhere, who are finding economic harm because of these of these protests? I think it’s interesting this issue of our looking at Canada, because, you know, these protesters are not attacking their capital. And their government is not bringing out, they’re not attacking the building, I mean they’re in Ottawa, they’re in front of the Capitol, but they’re not attacking the Capitol building.

MAHER: Right. And they’re not trying to stop an election.

WILLIAMSON: Well, but my point is, there’s no violence in what they’re doing, even though swastikas are not funny … but those are outliers there. Yes. My point is that in a way, we get to see that this can be done in a way that does not bring violence with it. I think for Americans, it’s actually something to look at there.

MAHER: But I’m asking you about the bigger issue here is like, why is this and why truckers, and I thought, you know, like during the pandemic, you know, I talked about this many times, you know, we would see these ads “we’re all in it together,” and I think, “no, we’re not. No, we’re not.” There are some people who stay home. And some people who bring them the food. You know, if you’re just ordering Amazon, and you don’t ever have to go out, and your job you can do remotely, but who’s bringing me Amazon things? The trucker. You know, it’s, it was just, it looks, you did not use that word “elitist” in your whole speech, but like, that’s the word that I think is on people’s tongues and minds, and I mean, that certainly is what populists, including bad ones like Trump, play on. But there is this idea, and it’s not wrong, that some people are staying home in their Lululemons and other people, and you know, can afford to like, wait out and get a free vacation, and money from the government, and other people can’t, and they’re pissed off at the people who can.

RAMASWAMY: I think one step beyond that is this is also, furthermore, a group of people who have, further by the elites, been excluded in the name of capitalized inclusion. And so I was a biotech CEO after the George — when the George Floyd protests played out in 2020. I was still a biotech CEO back then, back then every institutional elite in America, in other countries around the world, but especially in America, would step up and say what we need to do is we need to listen and open our hearts and minds. And I think those same institutional leaders would now do well to take a page from that playbook and listening to these truckers.

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