On June 1, 1950, freshman Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith clearly denounced the tactics that were to become known as McCarthyism. For the next four years she opposed Joseph McCarthy at great personal cost until McCarthy was censured by the Senate in a belated act of courage.

On Feb. 4, Susan Collins did the opposite. Defending her vote to acquit President Trump in his impeachment trial she said the following: “I believe that the president has learned from this case,” and “I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future.”

Since then, it appears that Trump has only been emboldened. As a result of Susan Collins’ lack of political courage, the four horsemen of calumny — fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear, in Smith’s words — will continue to thrive in the White House, poisoning the waters of Democracy.

Albert Sargent, Auburn

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