Will Maine’s next senator tackle the great challenges that face us, such as climate degradation, militarism and racism, or continue wide denial or neglect?

Sen. Susan Collins’ response to the weightiest Senate challenges ever has been mostly silence. She parlays good manners, largely unwarranted claims to moderation and Maine’s inclination to make demigods of Senate incumbents into cover for supporting greed and economic license, e.g., the Paul Ryan-Donald Trump budget-busting tax cut.

She votes for militarism, war, more deadly nuclear weapons and meddling abroad. She bought the lie for war against Iraq. She sponsored for attorney general a federal judge nominee rejected as racist and, after Mitch McConnell stole a Supreme Court seat, filled another vacancy with a man accused of sexual assault.

Collins has consistently defended Israel’s racist, violent 1948 ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians; its ongoing theft of their land, farms, water and natural resources, and endless harassment, killing, maiming and indiscriminate imprisonments, even of children. She is silent about Israel’s imprisonment of Gaza, calculated undernourishment and indiscriminate, murderous bombings. She ignores Palestinians’ claims to justice and caters to AIPAC, now a minority American Jewish voice as younger Jewish Americans reject Israeli propaganda.

Collins’ silences tolerate penal injustice, border abuses of refugees, traumatizing of children and vote suppression and disenfranchisement. She never faults Pentagon bloat and needless wars that could fund health care, college tuitions, infrastructure and a safety net for victims of automation, globalization, climate change and energy reform.

It is time for Collins to go. We need a senator with a clear, capacious and moral vision. In announcing their candidacies, Betsy Sweet and Sara Gideon narrowly focused on threats to the abortion liberty, about which the Senate can now do little. Weeks into their fundraising, neither has confronted the realities that challenge us.

We need more – a progressive senator who will act, lead us to justice and care for our planet and our neighbors all.

William H. Slavick

Portland

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