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

    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).

    Max Nesterak
    Max Nesterak is a reporter for the Reformer focusing on urban policy, economics and labor. Most recently he was associate producer for MPR’s Morning Edition after a stint at National Public Radio. He also co-founded the behavioralscientist.org and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.