President Donald Trump would be the greatest internal threat to our freedoms and the United States since Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy used the Senate for his political witch hunts in the early 1950s. Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, also a Republican, called out McCarthy in her courageous “Declaration of Conscience” speech. Sen. Susan Collins showed that same political courage by announcing she cannot vote for her party’s candidate for president because she believes him fundamentally unfit for the responsibilities of the office. Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, has as well.

Trump’s candidacy poses this question to all voters: Are we Republicans and Democrats first, or are we Americans first? Do we care more about our party gaining power, or what is in the best interest of the country and most Americans?

Many high-profile Republicans have answered that question. They are Republicans first and are supporting Trump’s candidacy, despite their criticism of Trump’s hate-mongering speech, his lack of common decency, and concern over his volatile finger being on the launch button for the nuclear arsenal. These include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Leader Paul Ryan, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Others like former President George W. Bush and Maine Rep. Bruc Poliquin simply remain silent.

Balancing on the fence or remaining silent, these politicians reminded me of the famous quote of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia on the rise of fascism prior to World War II and Mussolini’s invasion of his country: “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

George Seel