At the “Lobster Summit” in Kennebunkport, on the weekend of July 4, 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin met for two days with President George W. Bush to try to reverse the downward slide in that administration’s relationship with Moscow.

Putin enjoyed a Maine lobster at the seaside compound of former President George H.W. Bush. While on a fishing trip, Putin was the only one to catch anything. “It’s a fine catch,” said President Bush. Eleven years later, it is Putin, in Helsinki, who can say of U.S. President Donald Trump: “He’s a fine catch.”

Trump refused to say whether he believes the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered with our 2016 elections. Maine’s congressional delegation denounced his statement. Former CIA Director John Brennan called Trump’s performance “nothing short of treasonous,” prompting bipartisan whispers of “who will rid us of this troublesome man?”

The president has publicly embraced our documented enemy and insults our allies. During World War II, at first, even the truth about Hitler was inconvenient. “Many in the West hoped the danger would simply go away,” Al Gore wrote in his book “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Vigorous action is required of all citizens to protect our democracy. To adapt the words of Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, a dissenter during the Third Reich: “First they came for the immigrants, but I was not an immigrant, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Muslims and Mexicans, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came to separate the women and children refugees, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. And when they came for the judges and journalists, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Citizens can do terrible things by doing nothing at all. Think November elections.

Robert F. Lyons


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