Political coercion

To the Editor:

Sen. Susan Collins is rightly lauded for opposing the GOP attempt to repeal, without replacing, the ACA; her vote agreed with the majority of Mainers, and Americans, who want more access to better health care at less cost — as promised by Donald Trump during his campaign. Her vote may have been left of the extremist Republican agenda but certainly not “left-of-center” as last week’s editorial characterized it.

Collins is rightly criticized for jumping on the GOP steamroller to push an ill-considered and wide-ranging tax bill through a process which gleefully trashed all regular procedure. Almost all experts and a majority of Americans oppose the Trump tax bill.

Rep. Paul Ryan is already putting Medicaid and Medicare on the chopping block and eying Social Security to pay for this unaffordable extravagance. Whatever pressures were put on Collins during the process, I doubt efforts by opponents came anywhere near the abuse brought into play by Sen. Mitch McConnell and President Trump and the gangs of alt-right trolls.

As an opponent to the tax bill, and so to Collins’ “yes” vote, I take heart that at least she feels the necessity to call out the big guns in her defense. They owe her that much for comprising the civility, social concern and fiscal responsibility she claims to stand for and sacrificing her credibility to give Trump a “win.”

I’ll go further and credit Collins with knowing that her vote was politically coerced, ethically unconscionable and in defiance of all empirical evidence and common sense.

As for future candidates, fortitude is a necessary attribute, while a working moral compass seems to be optional. The injustice of gerrymandering and the lack of effective campaign finance reform probably discourage more able candidates, who would welcome a fair fight, than does distaste for the legitimate and historical rough and tumble of American politics.

Annlinn Kruger

Bar Harbor

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