The Potluck

Bemidji activists to hold funeral for the Constitution ahead of State of the Union

By: - February 3, 2020 4:47 pm
constitution funeral

Bemidji activists plan to hold a funeral for the Constitution in anticipation of President Trump’s acquittal. Photo courtesy of Cate Belleveau.

Hours before President Donald Trump delivers his fourth State of the Union address Tuesday, a child will place a copy of the Constitution in a handmade coffin in Bemidji.

Attendees, dressed in black, will read the Bill of Rights and portions of the Constitution before placing their hand-written fears into the coffin.

“It’s nothing fancy,” said Bemidji artist and theater director Cate Belleveau. “It’s just a little bit more unique than hitting sad faces on Facebook. We all do that.”

Belleveau planned the funeral in response to Trump’s expected acquittal in the U.S. Senate of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

Republicans — some calling themselves “constitutional conservatives” — have often accused their opponents of trampling on the U.S. Constitution, most recently during the tenure of President Barack Obama.

The funeral will begin at the bronze statue of Shaynowishkung, known as Chief Bemidji, at 4:30 p.m. They’ll then form a procession, carrying the coffin to the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

“It’s a way to visually show people our concerns without screaming and yelling,” Belleveau said. “And our concern is when we throw out the checks and balances that the Framers put in with impeachment language, all Americans should sit up and be very concerned.”

Belleveau’s husband, a metal artist, made the coffin by hand. Belleveau says they’ll leave it by the statues of Paul and Babe for about a week.

(Then she’ll retrieve it to use for future projects).

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.