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I’ve lived in Minneapolis my entire life. I’m leaving Friday. I no longer recognize my hometown.

OPINION: I no longer recognize Minneapolis. I no longer want to live here. 

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Minneapolis is my home. My happiest memories are here. It’s where I learned to ride a bike, had my first date, received my high school diploma.

But today, I’m too afraid to even walk in my neighborhood by myself.

The ACE Hardware down the street? The one that I used to bike to in the summer? Robbed twice in the past five days.

The Walgreens next to my elementary school? Molotov cocktail thrown into it.

The Lake Harriet Bandshell, where we spent countless Mother’s Days? Homeless encampment popped up next door.

These are the things you don’t read about in the news.

Ten minutes from my house, at 38th and Chicago, there is still an autonomous zone. Police are not allowed to enter. Residents have died because medical authorities couldn’t get through, and carjackers (of which there are MANY) will speed into the zone to escape officer pursuit.

My favorite dinner theater canceled its production of Cinderella because it was “too white.”

My church — my beloved, tiny, Lutheran church — organized social justice marches for our congregation while refusing to reinstate in-person services (they’re still virtual, by the way).

And how about the week of the 2020 riots?

We lived under a curfew for days while looters seemingly roamed freely. Friends fled their home at 3:30 a.m. because the auto parts store behind them was on fire. And then we watched in horror as our City Council members demanded that the city defund the police — as they hired armed security for themselves.

I no longer recognize Minneapolis. I no longer want to live here. We are done, and I am leaving.

I’ve spent the past year watching this city crumble. Burning it wasn’t enough, I guess. Every day, I watched another piece of sanity and stability fall to the hysterical, bloodthirsty, self-righteous mob.

You distinguish between rioters and protestors? Racist. You do not want Marxist-inspired racial justice theories to be promoted in schools? Racist. You thought that maybe “Justice for George Floyd” should be left to the courts, and not mob rule? Super, super racist.

And where were our leaders providing stability and calm and confidence in the system? Nowhere to be found. What we did find were crazed politicians spouting fire and brimstone (I’m looking at you, Maxine Waters and John Thompson) and leaving us to pay the price.

Let me be clear: this city’s demise wasn’t just violent protests and burning buildings, or crime skyrocketing and businesses fleeing. It was also political indoctrination, hypocritical leadership, and the suppression of oppositional thought.

Any condemnation of the violence was denounced as “racist.” Billboards stating simply “Support MN Police” were brutally vandalized. Schools supported BLM walkouts for their students, then shut down in-person classes for fear of violent riots.

And all of this happened against the backdrop of our illogical, inconsistent, overly oppressive COVID-19 restrictions.

It’s easy to look at (for lack of a better word) disaster zones like these and mentally distance yourself from them. Yeah, that’s awful, but those people choose to live there. They’re the ones electing these leaders. This is their problem.

Yeah, it is. It is our problem.

And I can’t help but look around and wonder, “What happened here? Where exactly did it all go wrong?”

Was it the liberal mob? Identity politics? The cries of “RACIST!” when someone disagreed with a particular reaction or policy?

Was it conservative silence as the loudest voices got more and more radical?

Was it our acceptance that “we live in a blue area, this is just the way things are?”

How did it all happen so fast?

Whatever it was, I’m leaving this dark, surreal, twisted version of Minneapolis on Friday. And I pray to God that I never have to come back.

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About the Author
Grace Bureau -- Gustavus Adolphus College