We get it – people are angry. Maine Sen. Susan Collins last week voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and in doing so surprised Americans counting on the independence and moderation she had honed as her image.

But a boycott of Maine businesses, as some have called for following Collins’ vote last week, is an empty effort that will only draw focus and energy away from where they matter.

That’s not to say the anger is unwarranted. People feel betrayed that Collins not only voted for Kavanaugh but also did so while dismissing evidence that her vote would put Roe v. Wade in peril. They feel played after watching Collins drop all pretense of independence and bipartisanship in a speech on the Senate floor that fully embraced the Trump Republican line.

Out of this anger comes powerlessness. Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court, where in all likelihood he will sit for decades. Collins will not face voters for another two years, a millennium in today’s political time.

But a boycott will hurt only Mainers who had nothing to do with the outcome of the Kavanaugh confirmation process and can do nothing immediate to change it.

Talk of a boycott got a bounce Friday when progressive actor, comedian and radio show host John Fugelsang tweeted out to his 413,000 followers: “Dear Susan Collins – I really struggled with this but my tourist $ just voted against ever visiting Maine while you remain in office.” The post, which has since been deleted, was liked 22,000 times and retweeted another 5,000.


He said Tuesday it was a joke, but at least a few people have acted on it. Mark Murrell, owner of getMainelobster.com, told the Portland Press Herald that several customers canceled their orders because of Collins’ vote.

Beyond the likes, retweets and limited anecdotes, it’s hard to tell if the boycott is gaining any ground. In any case, it’s unlikely to do any good. Fewer tourist trips and orders from L.L. Bean won’t knock Kavanaugh off the bench.

But they will hurt, however marginally, the Mainers who supply restaurants with catch from their boats, or those who wait tables or stuff packages in the mailroom.

Besides, there are more immediate problems to confront; Collins cannot be defeated until 2020. And even if pressure were to cause Collins to stray from her Republican colleagues – something the ardent protesting and emotional personal testimony prior to her vote did not do – it would do nothing to change the minds of the 49 other Republican senators who voted for Kavanaugh, nor would it influence President Trump.

The anger released with Collins’ vote didn’t come out of thin air. It built up through the entire process, from the unprecedented treatment of Merrick Garland to Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment.

Collins is feeling the anger most because people assumed she was somehow different than the rest of her party, which pursued power at the cost of democratic norms, and is now more concerned with the treatment of men than with the treatment of survivors of sexual assault.

Her vote and subsequent explanations have put the lie to that assumption, and it’s made some people want to send back their lobster roll.

But the problem is bigger than Sen. Collins, and has little to do with the workers who make Maine Vacationland.

So enjoy that lobster, then go home, get involved and vote.

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