Tom Lawrence discusses this new influx in the Tripp neighborhood in today's Mitchell Daily Republic:
More than 50 Amish people have come to the area this year. So far, six families have bought 720 acres of land and planted crops and roots in southeast South Dakota [Tom Lawrence, "The Amish Arrive in Southeast South Dakota," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2010.09.04].
120 acres per family? What kind of farmers are these folks? How can any farmer support a family on less than a whole section or two? Don't they pray the mantra of Saint Butz, Get big or get out? If these weren't Amish, I'd think they were getting their farm advice from some liberal hippie blog on the Interwebs.*
They are a traditional people who eschew most modern conveniences. They rely on old-fashioned horsepower — horses — for their field work and travel.
...The Amish use traditional farming methods, including putting their corn up in shocks, instead of combining [Lawrence, 2010].
What? These folks won't come in to the blessed showrooms of Jim River Equipment to buy a big combine, or Prostrollo's to buy a big F-350? Blasphemy! South Dakotans have a sacred duty to shop and boost those sales tax revenues! If we let the Amish in, they'll start converting people to their ways and drive this state into deficit and decline.
The Amish don’t believe in confrontation or fights and have declined to serve in the military. Borntreger said his wife’s grandfather was drafted into the military during World War I and when he refused to serve, he was held as a prisoner of war.
They are conscientious objectors, he said, and are now treated that way by the American government [Lawrence, 2010].
The Amish won't serve alongside our best and bravest? They don't even believe in using guns for personal protection. More blasphemy!
Big farms, big business, big technology, big patriotism and guns—these are the central tenets of our culture. The Amish clearly challenge these tenets. Ought not we be alarmed at the presence of this challenge to our civic religion in our midst?
*Cultural note: The Gracevale Hutterites brought their kids in to the library one day last week. Some of the kids were checking their Facebook pages.