Dear Editor,

I recently spent three months overseas. During my travels, I met people from many parts of the world. They all wanted to talk about our current presidential election. And usually they expressed disappointment at the rancor, polarization and hate that have come to typify our politics. It is clear that, as Americans, we have lost our way. America used to be a beacon for democracy, tolerance and aspiration. This is no longer true.

I think that there are understandable reasons for our divisions. I respect persons who do not have the same views as I do. Both of our presidential candidates are flawed. And I understand that there are people – Republicans and Democrats – who have principled positions for their views.

As a Jew whose grandmother barely survived Auschwitz and Theresienstadt and whose grandfather died during the Holocaust, I am frightened by what I see now. I have no patience for those persons who, on the one hand, condemn their party’s candidate as a “bully,” a “racist” and/ or as “dangerous with the nuclear trigger,” but who, on the other hand, still support that candidate for purely partisan reasons. This is dangerous. This is tantamount to the German citizens during the 1930s and 1940s who perceived Hitler to be a monster but who chose nevertheless to support Hitler because he was their countryman.

We are Americans before we are Republicans or Democrats, and if we see a candidate as violating our cherished American principles, then we have an obligation to reject that candidate regardless of his/ her party affiliation and to seek other leadership. I did not support Mitt Romney or Meg Whitman in their respective political races. But I am heartened by their choice to put “America First.” To do otherwise would be hypocritical and catastrophic.