Maine Public Television (Channel 10) recently aired a documentary about Sen. Margaret Chase Smith. She was a paragon of courage, principle and truth-telling, enduring the political and personal costs that come with speaking truth to power.

Sen. Susan Collins is quoted in this documentary, saying, “What I learned from Sen. Smith was to always stand up for my principles.” What a timely reminder, as Sen. Collins confronts a pivotal vote on whether or not to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a justice of the Supreme Court.

All indications right now are that she is searching for justifications to validate a “yes” vote, despite what his judicial record and partisan role in the George W. Bush administration reveal about his positions on issues she purports to support, e.g., reproductive rights, access to health care, care of the environment, and the list goes on. The elephant in the room, of course, is that this nomination emanates from an administration with no core values or principles other than the raw pursuit of power, no matter the cost to this country’s citizens and our democracy.

It is time for Sen. Collins to reconnect with her principles and to muster the courage and strength to vote “no,” as her role model, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, did when she delivered her “Declaration of Conscience” speech to the Senate in 1950.

At the time, Sen. Smith was the lone voice speaking out against the outrages of her colleague Sen. Joseph McCarthy. It is time for Sen. Collins to follow her example.

Paula Valente

South Portland