In the 1940s, my father helped sponsor a Japanese architect and woodworker by the name of George Nakashima and his family, who had been in a U.S. internment camp.

The Nakashima family moved to a community near us, and Mr. Nakashima started his woodworking shop and later became a world-renowned artisan.

During the same decade, my mother’s parents, as medical missionaries, were held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in China. My mother wept for them and also wept when we destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Today, I marvel at my parents’ broad-thinking generosity as much as I lament our circa 2015 narrow, heated debate in the United States about Syrian refugees coming to our shores. We have truly lost our way when a presidential candidate can talk about admitting only Christians or when our governor postures about closing Maine doors to Syrian refugees.

Now, perhaps more than ever in our reality-based TV-saturated political life, we need to think clearly and compassionately. When fear is the father, irrationality is the child.

Nicole d’Entremont

Peaks Island