Once again, Sen. Susan Collins finds herself impaled upon the horns of a dilemma. The times are perilous, and the country is calling. During her long service in the Senate, she has always considered what’s best for Maine, and she has always done her job, never missing a vote.

At this time, our fractured country, and our state, are in a bad way. She knows the reason why; in fact she warned us when she announced that she would not vote for Donald Trump for president. Now, Mr. Trump stands impeached, accused of betraying the country for his own personal interests. Once again, Collins will have to look into her conscience to decide what to do.

She should always remember that Maine’s motto is “Dirigo.” Maine’s leadership means honesty and conscience. As a freshman Senator in 1950 Margaret Chase Smith stood up, alone, against an internal threat to our democracy, one that she felt had produced a “great psychological fear (that) spread to the Senate, where a considerable amount of mental paralysis and muteness set in for fear of offending (Sen. Joseph) McCarthy.” That sounds all too familiar.

The annals of the Senate tell us that Mrs. Smith urged her fellow Republicans not to ride to political victory on the “Four Horsemen of Calumny–Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” Margaret Chase Smith is revered today, not only in Maine, for her courage. Her clear stance against slander, bigotry, and lies made her a hero, and lent to our state a reputation of probity and intrepidity.

It is Collins’ turn now. Should she find the case against impeaching Mr. Trump sound and convincing, she will, of course, vote not to impeach. If she decides that the president has indeed committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” she will have to vote to impeach. The repercussions on either choice will be loud, but she has heard them before.

Only one course, however, leads to the health of democracy and enhances Maine’s reputation as the breeding ground of clear thinking and courage. Dirigo.

Paul Kalkstein,


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