BEST LOST CAUSE Minneapolis 2000 -
We know the oddball collection of vagabond protesters, lost souls and assorted activists who waged the long and ultimately futile fight against the rerouting of Highway 55 in south Minneapolis were sometimes hard to stomach. Their rhetoric was both overblown and strategically ill-conceived; the oft-repeated claim that the project amounted to "cultural genocide" (because Mendota Indians regard some of the affected areas as sacred), constituted at best careless use of a weighty phrase and at worst discouraged well-meaning folks from joining the crusade. Too bad, because the protesters did have a point: This is one lame project. Minnehaha Park and its environs are the best south Minneapolis has to offer in the woodsy-pleasures department, and jeopardizing the relative serenity and cleanliness of the park is just the sort of folly that has degraded so much of the Twin Cities metro. Maybe we should have cut the activists some slack for their woozy diatribes. They were, after all, right about another thing: Power gets what power wants. It was no surprise when the authorities finally booted the protest camp out of the park last December to make way for the earthmovers. By the time the 'dozers are done, those wacky demonstrators won't seem so wacky after all.