Seldom does a person have an opportunity to see a historical event as it happens, to witness a lone hero standing up to injustice: the person facing down a tank in Tiananmen Square, or a Margaret Chase Smith standing against a Senate bully, Joe McCarthy. Last week, we all had that opportunity to see it live, an incredible display of bravery and thoughtful logic, again by a Republican on the Senate floor, 68 years after Smith’s Declaration of Conscience speech. It was fitting that it was another Maine woman, Sen. Susan Collins, standing up to injustice saying to the bullies that we will not cower, we will not surrender, we will not back down.

Our government, our Constitution, and our freedoms are again under attack. Almost 70 years ago it was labeling a person “communist” to silence them. Today there are new words: homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, racist, and a word to smear all — deplorables. The first four words describe serious mental conditions, and the fifth word — racist — speaks to a twisted mind. Deplorable is simply left to people’s imagination. Add a mob, personal confrontation, street demonstrations and press coverage, and debate is stifled.

The recent debate on Brett Kavanaugh brought out all the labels and added sexual harassment and sexual assault. In the end all evidence pointed to the fact that Kavanaugh is a superbly qualified as a judge and is an exemplary individual. His whole life speaks to his integrity. He is a true supporter of women and has help advance many of them in the legal profession. The claims made against him are aberrations unsupported by evidence or witnesses. Collins encapsulated the whole debate in her 45-minute, point-by-point speech. Thank you, Sen. Collins.

Joe Grant

Wiscasset

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