In reading about the Maine Sunday Telegram’s 2017 Mainer of the Year (Dec. 31), I was struck by how ironic it was that the others cited as contenders were a profound and striking counterpoint to Sen. Susan Collins, her party and their president:

There is the disabled veteran who, with courage, fought and sacrificed in a war that Collins voted to support and her party continues to support, with untold billions going to war profiteers.

There is the scientist and educator who is challenging the undermining of science made by their president and the Republican-affiliated media, in which the Republicans are complicit because of the influence of their fossil fuel industry donors.

There is the CEO of a cooperative health insurer created to offer coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which Collins at one time supported only to later, critically and strategically, undermine with her vote on the tax reform bill.

There is the young girl who dared to take a difficult and principled stand against an unfair dress code through a thoughtful act of empowering women. Collins and her Republican Party are dismissive and actually hostile to women’s and children’s voices, issues and needs.

Then, there is the Beach to Beacon runner who helped a fallen fellow runner and selflessly pushed him to victory, demonstrating empathy and kindness. Collins’ Republican Party and their president seem to have lost any capacity for such a selfless act. In fact, they believe that their own winning is paramount, and those in need are to be reviled and exploited.

Collins needs to learn to do less political posturing and gain the kind of principled and selfless courage these people demonstrate. Now is that time. If not, Collins’ career will have missed the mark of Margaret Chase Smith, Ed Muskie and George Mitchell and will be known for political shrewdness, cowardice and self-serving contradictions.

Michael Shaughnessy