What has happened to our great country? We can no longer lay claim to being the undisputed beacon of liberty and leader of the free world. Our history, as a welcoming country and a source of hope for so many, built strength and resiliency through diversity. We were a land of opportunity, of community, of compassion and stability, where our political leaders disagreed but eventually found ways to negotiate and together built a better America. That is and always should be the promise of America.

Jonathan “Tracer” Treacy of Oxford Sun Journal file photo

Our country is facing several serious challenges, and my concern for our nation has never been greater. Divisiveness and party before nation have created such gridlock it has become impossible to even address the very real threats facing our nation. It is time to act, and act decisively, particularly knowing we have no time to waste.

Throughout my 34 years of service I was always confident that we could weather any storm and our future was always secure. The source of that confidence was my great belief in the strength of our nation: all of us.

We did not shy away from the apparently insurmountable challenges of the past, and we created opportunity from adversity. In the end, our strength, our determination and our ingenuity saw us through. And as we face today’s many challenges, opportunity beckons again to reinvest in a sure thing – all of us – and reverse the irresponsible governance gripping our nation.

I believe in service and our inherent responsibility to our country and to one another. Likewise, our government has a responsibility to serve as well, prioritizing the security, liberty and general welfare of the people above all else. This has not been the case recently, and unworthy motivations dominate American politics today:

• Power for power’s sake.

• Pay to play.

• Infringement of our civil rights.

• Anything to hold power.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the U.S. Senate. The majority leader, supported by the members of his party, has blocked crucial legislation passed by the House. Our very elections are at risk, children are being ripped from their parents, causing lasting harm, and overt corruption is overlooked. Sen. Susan Collins has been exposed as a supporter of this status quo, and after 23 years of participating in the system she can no longer claim to be a moderate or to be looking out for Mainers.

There is, however, every reason for optimism. Strong, independent, hardworking, fair-minded and pragmatic, Mainers have always been unbowed by any challenge and unafraid to set lofty goals, knowing that it may take many steps to achieve them. By coming together we can bring Maine forward, providing our nation much-needed principled, practical leadership to the many issues from health care, climate change and women’s rights to secure jobs, the economy and education, to name but a few.

We the People have given our consent to be governed and have every right to expect our government will be honest, transparent, accountable, responsible and responsive to us first and foremost. We have seen how too many in politics have become like Sen. Collins, making decisions and casting votes to maintain power and wealth. It’s time to chart a new course and restore freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.

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