While I am saddened that my state and nation have stooped to levels I never deemed possible, we are faced with an opportunity yet to be seen in my lifetime.

My husband and I went to Germany and the Czech Republic recently. We went into the museum for the murdered Jews of Europe. We walked on the uneven floors and ended in a trapped room. But we could get out – in stark contrast to those the structure honored.

We went to a Nazi concentration camp that Hitler used for propaganda. Their finances fueled the Third Reich.

After we came home, Donald Trump and his supporters used brown shirt-style tactics and dehumanized minorities. Three times this year, Trump has visited our state – each time, Gov. Paul LePage supported him and his vile approach. One week post-Brexit, we were on a ship in the North Atlantic. On board was a marauding group of Trump backers who entered public spaces and goaded people, bellowing “Are you a Hillary supporter? You look like one!”

Last week, LePage threatened a state legislator. He was extraordinarily homophobic. The same week, Trump also chose to exploit a tragedy by implying that his point had been proven by the senseless shooting death of a young mother in Chicago.

We must take a stand now and say, “No more.” We owe this to the next generation. We cannot and will not steal their future.

We have brought our state and nation to the brink of a Fourth Reich. We must rise above the crazed fray and clearly assert: “Not today, not ever! Our love is stronger than hate! We are much stronger united than divided! We must educate to inoculate and eradicate hate. Now is the time; this is the place!”

Lonnie Leeman, LCSW

Gray