Seldom does a person have an opportunity to see a historic event as it happens – to witness a lone hero standing up to injustice: The person facing down a tank in Tiananmen Square. A Margaret Chase Smith standing up against a Senate bully, Joe McCarthy.

We recently all had that opportunity to see it live, an incredible display of bravery and thoughtful logic, again by a Republican on the Senate floor 68 years after Sen. Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience” speech. It was fitting that it was another Maine woman, Sen. Susan Collins, standing up to injustice, saying to the bullies, “We will not cower. We will not surrender. We will not back down.”

Our government, our Constitution and our freedoms are again under attack. Almost 70 years ago it was labeling a person “communist” to silence them. Today there are new words: “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” “Islamophobic,” “racist” and a word to smear all – “deplorables.” The first four words describe serious mental conditions, and the fifth, “racist,” speaks to a twisted mind. “Deplorable” is simply left to people’s imagination. Add a mob, personal confrontation, street demonstrations, press coverage, and debate is stifled.

The debate on Brett Ka- vanaugh brought out all the labels and added sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations. In the end, all evidence pointed to the fact that Kavanaugh is a superbly qualified as a judge and is an exemplary individual. His whole life speaks to his integrity. He is a true supporter of women and has help advance many of them in the legal profession. The claims made against him are aberrations unsupported by direct evidence.

Sen. Collins encapsulated the whole debate in her 45-minute point-by-point speech.

Thank you, Sen. Collins.

Joseph Grant

Wiscasset