There may or may not be a government shutdown in October, but truckers are heading toward Washington, D.C., regardless, aiming to shut the city down themselves.
"The shutdown is actually a traffic jam," former country music star and event organizer Zeeda Andrews told U.S. News. "This is a three-day traffic jam."
Andrews, a former spokesmodel for Mack Trucks, says around 3,000 truckers are planning to zoom through and around Washington, D.C., beginning Oct. 11.
There are two distinct issues at hand. The first is a range of frustrations experienced by independent truck drivers not employed by a large company or affiliated with a union.
But the truckers are also targeting President Barack Obama and the nation's political leadership. A list of demands addressing "corruption against our Constitution" will be delivered to lawmakers before the ride, Andrews said, and lawmakers can spare D.C.-area residents the traffic jam if they agree to them.
The hitch: one of those demands is that Obama be removed from office, a request the organizers find perfectly reasonable. Obama committed treason by allegedly funneling weapons from Benghazi, Libya, to al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels, said online radio host Peter Santilli, who is heading up a parallel protest in California.
"Originally the sheer symbolism of the truckers riding into Washington, D.C., was powerful and a great photo opportunity, but this thing has further evolved," Santilli said.
The organizers are also upset by a 2012 provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes the president to indefinitely detain Americans without trial, and Obama's health care reform law.
Since advertising the ride on social media, Andrews said, interest has exploded.
"Obama said last week it's my way or the highway, and the people are choosing the highway," she said. "It's viral, it's like a fire, it's burning out of control [and] people really want to help because their issues are the same as the truckers are having. ... All Americans and all truckers agree on one thing: Barack Obama is a threat to American safety."
A movement of highway overpass-decorating activists seeking Obama's impeachment will cheer on the truckers, Santilli said, and some truckers are also planning to meet in state capitals.
"The days of the Million Man March are over, because people can't afford to go to D.C.," he said, "[but] the truckers are already out on the road, they're on the streets."
In order to comply with freight-lugging restrictions, the truckers entering D.C. will "bobtail" their vehicles, meaning they will first detach their cargo trailers.
"The bobtailers will be leading the charge," Andrews said. "They will be flying their American flags and there will be [pro-Constitution] banners."
The truckers "don't have to lay on the air horn," she said. "Their engines are going to make enough noise."
For three days, the organizers plan to have the truckers – along with other supporters driving in cars and motorcycles – rumble through the city. Independent truckers with their trailers will drive around I-495, the D.C. beltway.
"We would actually like to be like the Egyptians, they all showed up and got something done," Andrews said.
Around 2,000 slow-moving truckers can clog up northbound I-95, she said.
Whether or not the truckers pack a punch to D.C. traffic likely depends on the number of participants. A similar three-day protest in 2007, against illegal immigration and competition from Mexican truckers, did not spoil travelers' commutes as feared, the Washington Examiner reported.
During the upcoming protest, sympathizers who work for large trucking companies "are going to fly the flag and post banners saying 'Ride for the Constitution' to support their brothers and sisters," Andrews said.
Truckers, she said, "are a different breed of people, they are very loyal to each other and they can do something at the drop of a hat."