Perhaps the most important issue in the 2020 campaign is the moral and emotional fitness of Donald Trump for the office he holds. His recent behavior gives cause for more doubt than ever. Voters need to know Sen. Susan Collins’ position on this question: Is Mr. Trump a leader we can be proud of?

On June 1, 1950, near the height of McCarthyism, Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith spoke in opposition to Joseph McCarthy, a fellow Republican senator and, like Mr. Trump, a vile demagogue. In a speech to the Senate, she declared, “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny – Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” She finished her speech with a “Declaration of Conscience,” co-signed by six other Republican senators, that included these words: “It is high time that we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans.”

It was a proud day for Maine.  One newspaper commented, “This cool breeze of honesty from Maine can blow the whole miasma out of the nation’s soul,” and another observed, “By one act of political courage, (Smith has) justified a lifetime in politics.”

Today we desperately need a new declaration of conscience from the Republican Party. It would be most fitting for Sen. Collins, who holds the same seat that Sen. Smith held, to author it. It would thrill her supporters, gain her new ones and make all Mainers proud.

Michael P. Bacon


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