It is time for Sen. Susan Collins to condemn unequivocally the recent attack on the Capitol and the role played by the president and Republican lawmakers in motivating it. If she were to vote to convict in the upcoming impeachment trial, it would be a worthy investment of the political capital she has amassed from her long, conscientious service and her decisive electoral victory. It would thrill her supporters, gain her new ones and make Mainers proud.

It is clear that the Republican Party has become thoroughly infested with neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites, seditionists and the lawless. A large majority of Republican House members, including the House minority leader, and a significant number of Republican senators stand with them. Does Sen. Collins want to continue to be associated with men and women of such deplorable character? She will be if she does not speak out and denounce them.

The Republican Party has reclaimed its position as the party of “Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear” (to quote Margaret Chase Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience” speech). Decent Republicans must feel great shame. Sen. Collins should seriously consider leaving her party and becoming an independent like Sen. Angus King. By caucusing with the Democrats, now in the majority, she could have just as much influence on legislation as she has had as a Republican. And she would be in a position to do just as much as she does already for the state she represents.

Michael P. Bacon
Westbrook

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