In times like these — when public discourse is divided and intense, and politicians so want to be re-elected that their meta-communication gets blurred — discerning voters may be searching for a politician with uprightness for whom they may vote.

Two weeks ago I discovered a political figure who spoke her conscience as a senator in 1950. Born in Skowhegan, Margaret Chase Smith projected a new vision for effective leadership in the legislative and executive branches of our government. She spoke of the harm done with irresponsible words of bitterness and selfish political opportunism.

Smith admirably recalled the four basic principles of Americanism: the rights to criticize, hold unpopular beliefs and to protest, and the right of independent thought. Because she cared about what really matters, Smith shared her sentiments about the country being psychologically divided — that America was losing its position as a leader of the world because the administration failed to provide effective leadership.

“The Four Horsemen of Calumny” was described as a regime that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty: Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.

Then, as now, I wonder if the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. What will our future hold if a one-party system — a dictatorship — prevails in place of democracy?

I am remembering the positive living legacy of Smith to “bring forward” the possibility of new leadership, women with vision and purpose who can guide the collective while purposefully empowering intelligence, cooperation, mutual respect and essential party unity.

Caro Poirier, Gilead

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