On Jan. 6, 200 Mainers gathered in Monument Square to mark the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection by holding candles, carrying signs and urging support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Six supporters of Donald Trump tried to drown out the vigil speaker. Their counterargument, spelled out in giant letters on a flag, was an obscenity that this newspaper cannot print.

With which group might one hope Sen. Susan Collins would ally herself? For a member of the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” and someone who pretends to model herself after Margaret Chase Smith, the answer should be a no-brainer.

Margaret Chase Smith voted for the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. With that act gutted by the Supreme Court and 33 laws passed in 19 states in 2021 aimed at disenfranchising voters, what has been Collins’ response?

Hand-wringing and dissembling. Collins’ recent statement bemoaning the “harsh divisions” in today’s politics was beyond mealy-mouthed. Whatever divisions exist, only one party is committed to promoting violent, anti-democratic values: Susan Collins’ Republican Party.

Her response to Sen. Angus King’s warnings about brazen Republican efforts to undermine elections? “Hyperbole.”

Sen. Collins says we should “consider what we can do to lessen the divisions and bring our country together.” She should start by grasping the nettle and (in an increasingly hopeless cliché) having her much-yearned-for Margaret Chase Smith moment.

The “Four Horsemen of Calumny – Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear” that Sen. Smith identified are alive and well in Susan Collins’ Republican Party. When is she going to confront them?

Thomas Urquhart

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