To the Editor:

On Jan. 24, Governor Noem was quoted in the Mitchell Republic as saying, “I love South Dakota. Everyone is normal here … that doesn’t always happen here in this crazy country.”

It is perhaps this world view that prompted her to call, without any evidence, the new newly elected senators from Georgia “communists.” Perhaps she justifies her categorization because they are not what she perceives as normal, i.e., they do not look like her or believe as she does, as do most, but not all, people in South Dakota. Noem went on to question if they truly had “America’s values” even though they each were supported by more than 13 times more U.S. citizens than had voted for her last election .

I grew up in South Dakota but no longer live in South Dakota. What I learned in South Dakota and what was underscored by the outrage of people all over the U.S. last summer is that when we view those different from us as not normal, the consequences can be catastrophic.

That same myopic vision was manifested earlier in January when a group of “normal” people stormed the capital building, threatening to harm members of Congress and hang Vice President Pence. We can not hope to live into the ideals of this country if the only people we consider normal are those who are just like us.

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Randall Nelson

Champaign, Ill., formerly of White Lake