Dear Editor,

I’m writing in response to the letter to the editor in a recent issue of the paper, where the writer repeated the phrase “invaders” when speaking about immigration. Why so fearful?

Here’s a quote; “We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people–our strength–from every country and every corner of the world. And by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation…”

Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation.

“If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.” Who do you think said that? Why, surprise!

It was Ronald Reagan, in 1989, not exactly one’s idea of a liberal thinker. Did you know that in the 1840s the Irish were seen as a threat, undesirable and lazy, takers–somewhat like the racially charged language against people from Latin America that we see being used to stoke fear and hatred at this time in the national conversation?

Maybe conversation is not the right word because that would imply also listening rather than only broadcasting for the purpose of promoting an agenda.

I was wondering about the perspective of the writer; perhaps they were Native American viewing the “invaders” to the land, bent on taking a traditional way of life?

Or maybe they were of Scandinavian descent with a racial memory of Viking raiders to their shores, kidnapping their women and livestock, razing the village?

More likely they would identify as white with a desire to be the dominant identity in the land and fearful of people from backgrounds with more pigment.

That’s what I’m assuming.

People have been migrating around the world since we’ve been around as people, traveling for the chance to lead good productive lives or escape war, injustice, famine.

In this country, we have contributed to conditions that assure migration of necessity increases as environmental conditions become more extreme across the globe.

Does our hospitality have to decrease in the face of this probable future?

Another response is possible besides “othering”. It is embracing our common humanity and seeing the opportunity in welcome what this country’s ideals represent.

— Miriam Marcus