In the struggle to stop the I-69 highway, I have heard men and women of all ages emphatically proclaim that they would lie down in front of bulldozers before allowing the highway through our town. Well, this summer they may have those opportunities.
Activists from across the country are converging on Bloomington to stop construction of this NAFTA superhighway. In fact, direct action is already underway. On Thursday, a group of 10 activists biked out to the I-69 section planning office, amid the west-side sprawl, in the middle of an office park that includes a store called "Affordable Dentures."
The scene was rather surreal, activists chanting slogans and beating makeshift drums surrounded by maps of the new highway emblazoned with the words "Corridor 4." As they left, biking across the bridge, a police officer stopped them, delivering a trespassing advisory. When asked why they had done what they did, one activist said, "INDOT has shut down comment on this highway. We were exercising our constitutional right to dissent on property owned by us as citizens of a democratic government." They were let go with a warning.
A block-lettered sign on a carwash in front of Bedford's Visteon plant captured the mood of the town:
Visteon is a former division of Ford Motor Co. At the Bedford plant, workers manufacture fuel delivery system components and windshield wiper modules. The men and women of the Visteon plant love America, and they have loved the Ford Motor Company as well. No Toyota or Dodge carries any Bedford Visteon employee to work.