By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
OK, this is me yelling: WHAT HAPPENED TO GEORGE FLOYD WAS STRAIGHT UP SIN! Now, I have the rest of this page to fill up, and I will do my best to find something helpful and perhaps unique upon which to spend my word space. There are a number of strange things about the case, past the most important aspect of a man being murdered over the alleged use of a counterfeit twenty dollar. Floyd and Officer Chauvin, who has thankfully been charged with murder, had worked security at the same club for 17 years. Whether or not they actually knew each other has not been established, but the fact they worked in the same place is admittedly odd.
Let’s move on to what we do know: cities all over America have been set on fire ostensibly because of what happened in Minneapolis, and several states have had to activate their National Guard units. I am going to let you in on a little secret that I hope will not be taken as an attempt to diminish the gravity of what happened between an abuser and his victim who died a brutal death. There are people who for reasons which have nothing to do with the desire to shed light on a crime, secure justice, heal racism or appeal to the positive side of humanity who actually WANT cities to burn. Why? Because they hate the dream that is America. The dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Pilgrims and Christa McAuliffe.
Why do I raise the possibility that cities are burning for reasons that are far different than being rightfully sickened and outraged? Because I have experienced it firsthand. A lifetime ago, when I would participate in demonstrations, I saw people try to manipulate demonstrators in order to incite violence. To be very specific, in Cleveland in 1972, my college comrades and I tried to shut down the County Courthouse in protest to the mining of Hanoi Harbor. Throughout my activist “career,” I was steadfastly committed to the principles of non-violent protest, (with one exception which I will explain below) although I was surrounded by people who were not.
The demonstration was over, and we were a block or two away from the courthouse when a guy who had not been a part of our group came out of nowhere and started yelling, “Bring the war home!” “Bring the war home!” He then identified himself as a member of the Students for a Democratic Society, better known as the SDS. I remember standing there feeling so betrayed, and yes, frightened. This was not what we were about, as goofed up as we were as young college students.
On another occasion, however, I was on the other side of it. There was a demonstration on the Oberlin College campus, again, an anti-war demonstration, and this time we tried to burn down a marble memorial known as Shansi. It had been erected in memory of Oberlin students who had gone to the mission field in China and had been murdered in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 because they were Christians and because they were foreigners. For some reason it was not problematic to me to try and destroy it. Years later, when I myself was a missionary in Mexico, my actions of my youth were even more embarrassing to me. By that time, though, I had surrendered to grace, and grace makes all the difference.
What can possibly be gained by my telling you this stuff? Maybe someone will be helped by reading this and say, “Wow, that is some crazy crap! What changed you?” The only One who can. The One who saw past my ability to be manipulated and to manipulate, to deceive and be deceived. The One who still decided I was worth loving enough to die for, and did it. And His love, dear readers, is the ONLY way we will douse the fires of rage as well as racism. Let’s get to it.