Mainers from both sides of the political aisle have honored the legacy of our beloved senator, Margaret Chase Smith, in the 69 years since her “Declaration of Conscience” against the demagogue Sen. Joe McCarthy for the tactics of his communist witch hunt.

On July 1, 1950, our then-freshman senator had the courage to condemn McCarthy’s “hate and character assassination” and his campaign of “fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.” This declaration led to McCarthy’s censure by the Senate and his subsequent ouster.

Would Margaret Chase Smith have stood idly by in the face of a president who constantly lies to the nation, abuses women, lines his own pockets and denigrates the free press? Would she accept his towering narcissism, his self-deception, insensitivity and braggadocio? This president acts as if government employees should take a loyalty oath to him personally (shades of Adolf Hitler) and accuses his critics of treason, while cozying up to autocratic leaders like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un. In a word, his conduct has been outrageous.

The problems that our nation faces are real and immediate: climate change, the cost of medical care, the need for clean air and water and the shocking disparity of income between the ultra-rich and the average American.

I would implore Sen. Susan Collins to heed the example of her courageous predecessor and help end this dreadful chapter of presidential history.

David S. Wakelin

South Portland

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