Protest, art go digital


This fall, the RNC National Convention will attract more than just Republican delegates to Ward Two. Protesters of all stripes are expected to descend upon Saint Paul to express their views to their temporarily captive audience.

One homegrown progressive 527 organization is True Blue Minnesota, led by President Martha Ballou of Highland Park and VP Andrew Hine of Brewerytown. They have hired two “JumboTron” televisions on which to play messages to the world.

“We need to do this because it’s just not right for us to ‘forget’ the last seven and a half years when the national TV cameras are on,” said Ballou.

Quoting Mark Twain, Hine added “’Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t.’ And I have decided that enough is enough. We need to do something, to say something. Frankly, it is our patriotic duty to do so.”

They have already collected a wide variety of programming material ranging from single words, short phrases, famous quotes, and scripture to full-length motion pictures. Noted filmmaker Robert Greenwald has granted his permission to play his movies, and comedienne Lizz Winstead will be providing comic relief. Local and national artists have contributed powerful visual art, including oil paintings, posters, photographs, comics, and animation. The screens seem to be becoming a combination of drive-by movie, community bulletin board, digital billboard, educational video, and art exhibition.

Ballou and Hine would like to promote Minnesota and Saint Paul in the hopes other progressives will consider moving here.

“Consider it our attempt to resolve the vacant housing issue while turning Minnesota even bluer than it already is,” quipped Hine.

One television, 17 feet high and 23 feet across, will be located in Triangle Park, across from the Minnesota History Center, and the other in a Harriet Island parking lot.

“There are user fees here and there, and flaming hoops to jump through, but I have to say that navigating the city process has been pretty smooth-sailing so far,” Hine had to admit. “I like to think they realize that our intentions are good and that we are hardly enemies of the State.”

To learn more about True Blue Minnesota, and to submit your messages to be televised, go to, or e-mail Hine at Operatives are standing by…

A.M. Hine is a St. Paul resident and DFL activist.