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Dave Del Camp of Portland is a merchant mariner and part time blogger.
Through the years, I had never been a big fan of Maine Sen. Susan Collins. What she always referred to as, “reaching across the aisle,” I always called, “caving in.” I viewed her moderate positions as weaknesses and had little accord for either.
But that was then. My, how times have changed.
As the world watched, the protesters shouted, the politicians postured, and the news anchors bloviated, there was one voice that ultimately cut through the din. Who would have ever thought that voice would be from a courageous woman who, in her youth, once picked potatoes for Bud Smith’s farm and hailed from Caribou, Maine?
In a speech that harkened back to a better time of contemplative, deliberate, rational leadership and decision making, Maine’s senior senator carefully laid out the case for her decision to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court by invoking historical, constitutional and legal facts and precedents.
She indicated her confidence in Kavanaugh, based on her personal interviews with him, directly quoting his positions on constitutional law. More importantly, she referred to Kavanaugh’s positions and opinions as evidenced by his voting record throughout years of serving on various benches. Point by point, Collins held up and knocked down virtually every concern that had been held against Kavanaugh. Lastly, she addressed the recent claims of sexual assault, which Kavanaugh had been accused of. In citing the FBI’s investigatory findings, along with the sworn testimony of Professor Christine Blasey-Ford, she surgically eviscerated any and all contrarian arguments that had been viciously leveled against him. What her speech may have lacked in the oratory mastery we’ve come to expect from some slick-talking politicians, it more than made up for in thoughtful, carefully researched, objective, factual content.
And wouldn’t you know it, like truth tends to do, it sliced through the melee of displeasure surrounding Collins, like a hot knife through butter.
As for myself? I’ve since been presented with the humbling reality that I was wrong about Collins. She stood tall and stared down injustice at a time when, not only her state, but her country needed her most. She didn’t shrink from her sworn duty and she did Mainers proud, whether some have realized it or not.
It was her finest hour. So complete, so studied and purposeful was her depiction and representation of the facts, that the throng of protesters, which were visible on the lower right hand corner of my TV screen, looked as inconsequential, weak and flimsy as the cardboard signs they carried. I almost felt bad for them.
I say almost, but not quite. I’m reminded that it was these same people who eagerly rushed headlong into attempting to destroy a man’s life; all in an effort toward achieving their own political gain. Their unspoken counter-constitutional creed of “guilty until proven innocent” only yielded them more shame and embarrassment, as if that were even possible.
Susan Collins will have my vote in November. Not because I harbor some fabricated dislike of Sara Gideon. Not because Gideon hasn’t been through the crucible of proving herself to possess any of the coveted characteristics of true leadership during a time of national crisis, but because Collins has.