“Real protest ain’t playin”

Pasted below is an excellent opinion piece by retired Indianapolis Star columnist Dan Carpenter.



Real protest ain’t playin’


January 5, 2016 8:34 PM

To believe in America is to believe in the courts, the election process, administrative recourse and peaceful protest outside those provisions.

To be patriotic is to hold sacred the stewardship of both private property and public land.

All of that perfectly describes the legions of Hoosiers who have been fighting since well back in the past century the blatant, devastating boondoggle known as the expansion of I-69 through the southwestern quadrant of the state.

It distinguishes them. And it differentiates them from the gun-brandishing scofflaws who make headlines by staging playground takeovers of the people’s property on the premise that the Constitution entitles them to exploit it for selfish gain.

Many of the I-69 resisters have lost their family homes and businesses to a “public” project drummed up to serve those who would sweep aside rural life and natural treasures for fleeting profit. The privatizers, the same guys the “militia” men ally with, are the enemies of these good folks. So is government in this instance — a real enemy, not a Darth Vader fantasy. Deaf to the people’s voice.

So they’ve fought — through lawsuit after lawsuit, hearing after hearing, demonstration after demonstration, study after authoritative study, thousands upon thousands of signatures on petitions. The multi-billion-dollar behemoth has ground on in spite of them, but so has the battle — by the rules. Any guns, any violence, any death threats, any acts of eco-terrorist sabotage have been mere specks in the decades of struggle, to the extent they’ve occurred at all.

This is patriotism. This is paying the price of citizenship. This is standing up for the rights of the individual and the sacred value of the land that native Americans can tell us nobody owns. It’s hard work. It takes guts. It shames the lawless and the law enforcers alike.

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