Dear Syrian war refugee,

I can’t believe I have to say this, but I support you.

I’ve never thrown myself to the ground to dodge mortar shells. I’ve never lost friends or loved ones to sectarian violence. I’ve never had to shelter my family from a war on our doorstep.

Most of all, I’ve never fled the violence and chaos of my home country.

I have no idea what that’s like.

But I do know that it’s a lot more frightening than anything I’ve encountered. I grew up in a peaceful society. It’s times like this when I realize what that really means. I’m so blessed to live in the United States and in Idaho.

Now you seek that same blessing.

My heart sinks when my fellow Idahoans – whose lives are just as sheltered as mine – depict you as the people causing the very same terror from which you are fleeing. I am ashamed when the governor of this state and our entire congressional delegation want to shut the door on refugees just to appease their most extreme constituents.

Please know that through all that noise, the average Idahoan has the greatest empathy for your heartache. We welcome you as a neighbor, a friend and a coworker.

And even though I will never be able to walk a mile – or even a block – in your shoes, I know your dreams are very much like mine: you want to build a life, raise a family, and live in peace.

It’s my hope that you get to fulfill those dreams.

Sincerely,

An Idahoan