Custer SD, 20 December 2015- I was saddened to read the editorial in last week’s 16 December 2015, Custer Chronicle. It is unfortunate to see such a judgmental and uncharitable stance taken in a vehicle that represents itself as the voice of our community. This is particularly distressing at this time of year when we celebrate the birth of a child whose parents were also exiled and refused accommodations at their subsequent destination. I can’t help but wonder if the writer of this editorial actually knows any Muslims personally. To label and condemn an entire population is simply racist. We cannot eliminate all risk from our lives simply by excluding this group of people, most of whom are trying to escape war and rebuild their lives. Life is full of risks. We take them every day simply getting out of bed. To believe that our own grandparents were somehow “better” immigrants than these overlooks the fear that surrounded that wave of immigration. There were signs in many windows at the time saying “Irish need not apply” or “No Italians permitted”. Yet these immigrants became loyal contributors to our country. Gratefully, I was born here in America, but this was not because of any merit on my part. It is simply an accident of birth. Who are we to condemn whole populations because of the circumstances of their birth? I don’t know how to bring peace to our world today. But I do know one thing, hatred and violence will only result in more hatred and violence.
Peg Ryan is a resident of Custer County and teaches Yoga and Pilates in Custer.