For way too many months, Minnesota and the way we work together (and how everyone should) have been challenged and routinely threatened by people who do not live here, have no vested interest in MN, and clearly have no respect for any opinion other than their own.  It is a dangerous version of “the spoiled child syndrome” that we must come together to deal with. 

There are those who do not want Line 3 replaced regardless of the truth, the reality, the good it will do for our society, how it will protect of our environment, or for anything else for that matter. Instead, they continue to play “Armageddon Game” by using fear and threats of violence to challenge what Minnesota stands for and what we value and how we care about “people”.

It has now reached a new level of absurdity when Winona LaDuke, the founder of Honor the Earth, said she and her followers “may stand to be a bit worried about civil society.”  They are worried that Minnesota may work together (as a society) to enforce rules that are designed to protect the people, the environment and our communities when Line 3 is re-built.

The only reason anyone needs to be concerned about “civil society” is if Ms. LaDuke and the out-of-town activists threatening violence try to make good on the inciteful violence they are promising to bring to Minnesota.   They justify this and the constant use of fear in their “moral” effort to stop the re-construction of Line 3.

Using the horrific events that happened at Standing Rock as a starting point, threats to our communities, our process and Minnesota in general have continued and increased.  It has now risen to the point of absurdity by connecting what she refers to as “assassinations”, and “uniformed men”raping women in Mexico to re-building a pipeline in Minnesota?  Beyond the obvious geography, the differences between Minnesota and Mexico in terms of laws, justice and process are dramatic for a good reason.  We are proud of what we have created in Minnesota and trying to claim a tragic event in Mexico has any relevance here is beyond ridiculous.

Efforts by Duluth to make sure their police officers have the right gear to keep them safe has now become something that is “fearful” and the “militarization” of our police that must be “resisted”.  The riot gear is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  It has one use and one use only – that is to protect the lives of the police officer.  Nothing else. If I deny an employee of things they need to do their job and they get injured as a result of my denying them the necessary PPE, I am responsible, period.  Why would I do that?

Earlier this year a representative of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (a state supported group) threatened personal violence on the record if Line 3 was approved.  After the PUC approved the certificate of need in June, Winona LaDuke herself took it to the next level when she said “They have gotten their Standing Rock. We will do everything that is needed to stop this pipeline.”  Those are classic examples of “inciteful violent rhetoric.”

Since then, professional protestors from around the country (well documented) have come here to block traffic in Bemidji,and downtown Minneapolis, stop a long-planned road construction project that has nothing to do with Line 3, and force the PUC to cancel a routine meeting.

As the process continues to move slowly forward towards the start of Line 3 construction, Minnesota now faces the direct challenge to who we are and what we stand for and what will we tolerate?  In addition to leaving taxpayers with a bill of more than $40 million, the protests at Standing Rock sent the dangerous message that to some, the ends justify the means.

That is not what Minnesota believes or stands for.  We have rules, processes, requirements and a way of working together that is important.  We recognize (and welcome) there will be differences of opinion but share a collective acceptance of what is good for the broader community and society.

Not only do we reject the continued threats by professional activists, we find the idea of Minnesota working together being a threat to “civil society” beyond ridiculous. 

What should worry Ms. LaDuke and those who continue to show no respect for Minnesota is underestimating the strength of Minnesota values.  As scared as some may rightfully be of these thuggish threats of violence, we know the power of our collective communities coming together to defend what makes Minnesota special is far stronger than any fear being promoted by those who can’t get past their own opinions.

This is one more reason Line 3 is important and why Minnesota will do more than just pass this test, we will rise to the challenge.

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