To the Editor:
I’d like to thank Sen. Susan Collins for her brave vote to impeach Donald Trump. Unlike 43 of her fellow colleagues, she refused to hide behind the phony argument that impeaching a president once he’s out of office is unconstitutional. Most constitutional scholars disagree with this argument, and besides, the only reason it occurred in this fashion was because Mitch McConnell refused to allow the proceedings to continue while Mr. Trump remained in office.
With her vote, Sen. Collins also recognized the grave nature of Mr. Trump’s actions, both on and before the events of Jan. 6. The 43 senators who voted to acquit are essentially condoning the use of lies and inflammatory rhetoric to overturn a democratic election. Mr. Trump’s words may or may not be protected under the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean Congress is not free to pass judgment and censure those words through impeachment. Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one.
I’m sure Sen. Collins knew there would be blowback to her vote. Other Republicans who have dared to speak out against Mr. Trump have been threatened by their constituents, rebuked by their families and censured by their party. Indeed, the Maine GOP is currently considering censuring Sen. Collins. Let’s hope they don’t follow through. Censure is a formal, and public, group condemnation of an individual whose actions run counter to the group’s acceptable standards for individual behavior. Censuring Sen. Collins signals that the Maine GOP values loyalty to party over loyalty to country.
Unfortunately, this seems often to be the case these days. I find it sad and embarrassing that so many Americans and otherwise sensible Mainers continue to support Donald Trump the flimflam man. Nothing could be more obviously self-serving than for a politician to declare an election rigged and fraudulent unless they’re the winner. And yet, 52 percent of Republican voters still believe this fairy tale! I doubt many Republican senators also believe it, but it’s hard to know. Only seven dared take a stand for truth, Sen. Collins being one of them. Thank you, Sen. Collins!