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By Pleasure Engel, writer and strategist
Geographically, Maine may possibly have far more than 35,000 square miles of land but, emotionally, we’re just one particular big tiny city. I observed Stephen King at the doctor’s office when. I saw Anna Kendrick at brunch. If Kevin Bacon was from Maine, his video game would only have two levels. Lately, I ran into Senator Susan Collins at an airport.
There’s a little bit of movie star that comes with becoming one of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate When men and women see Sen. Collins, they do a double consider, they get started whispering to each other and they even whip out their phones and question for images. She’s a place of delight for numerous Mainers due to the fact, in a point out where by headlines about Captain Marvel’s are often coupled with a take note about how the heroine could be from Maine, Susan Collins is form of a massive deal.
This is not the 1st time I’ve run into the senator but, in preceding flights (and elevators, activities and dining places), I’d hardly ever approached her. I believed she deserved a little bit of peace when out in public, and figured that nobody truly would like to talk to a stranger on a aircraft. I was anxious, in reality, I’d make her sense unpleasant.
But a good deal has occurred in the previous 3 decades.
In accordance to Time, Sen. Collins sided with Trump’s agenda 87 percent of the time in 2017. In her profession to date, FiveThirtyEight says she’s voted with Trump 72.3 % of the time — practically 25 % a lot more of the time than they in any other case might forecast presented how unpopular Trump is in the condition she was elected to stand for.
Sen. Collins was the to start with particular person to discuss in support of Jeff Session’s quest to turn into Attorney Typical. She supported the President’s tax overhaul invoice. Many thanks in lots of methods to Sen. Collins, Brett Kavanaugh has a life span appointment on the Supreme Court docket.
And, though she produced headlines this weekend for creating Lawyer General William Barr a letter suggesting he ought not overturn the Inexpensive Treatment Act by administrative fiat, in actuality, she did so even though suggesting a way he could achieve the same issue with no functioning afoul of the constitution.
When Sen. Collins does vote towards the president’s agenda, she does so in a way that nevertheless will allow for a Trump victory. Numerous Mainers — which includes me — frequented her places of work at the start out of the Trump administration to inquire her to oppose Betsy DeVos’ appointment to head the Section of Schooling. (That is the exact DeVos who, final week, introduced her intention to zero out contributions to Distinctive Olympics’ school programs made to assist prevent the bullying of young children with disabilities and later on was overruled by Trump.) Her cellular phone strains were being flooded for months by Mainers like me who opposed DeVos — and still, Collins voted the nomination out of committee realizing whole very well that executing so was a accomplishment for Trump. When she finally voted versus the nominee, she did so with the knowledge that the vice president would split a tie in the Senate and that permitted her to further Trump’s agenda with one vote even though sustaining her average mantle with the other.
Despite all of this — and none of this triangulation is new — the senator has been in a position to get absent with a standing as a moderate for most of her profession. In an age when it would seem as even though 50 % the legal guidelines customers of Congress pass are censures of every other’s behavior, a reasonable Republican is a welcome sight on anyone’s ballot. But no very good can arrive from voting for a “moderate,” when they are a reasonable in title but not in action.
The past a few many years have been — politically — the most challenging Collins has faced. But in its place of having inventory and listening to her constituents to much better fully grasp how she can finest provide them, she gave the unique effect that she observed the opinions of her constituents at greatest inconvenient and at worst, a risk. (My spouse, my parents, my son and I were being some of the 1000’s of constituents who really politely pleaded with the senator to believe in women of all ages, and reject the Kavanaugh nomination, but whose calls and visits she dismissed.) She even complains that worried citizens — her involved constituents — are “overwhelming” her personnel. And yet she presents these citizens no other put to attain her, like city halls, for case in point, which she’s prolonged refused to do.
So, a constituent like me is still left with a person option: Summon the nerve to speak to her at an airport. The irritation that I as soon as nervous the senator would truly feel if I approached her is nothing at all in comparison to how I sense each and every working day recognizing that Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Courtroom.
I have the utmost regard for the workplace that Susan Collins at the moment retains, and it is with that regard in thoughts that I approached her and informed her that I thought Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I advised her that I was a sexual assault survivor. I thanked the senator for her services to my condition, but informed her that I was so deeply disappointed in her file above the past couple many years. I told her how triggering it is for me to wake up each working day figuring out that each Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas sit on the bench.
To her credit, the senator did take care of my problems with regard, but she recurring many of the exact strains as I read in her 45-moment long occupation of appreciate for Brett Kavanaugh. As a lady, a mom and a survivor, I needed to listen to the senator tell me that she trusts and thinks gals, but she advised me in its place that she discovered it peculiar that Dr. Ford’s mothers and fathers didn’t appear to assist her when she gave testimony, and how odd it was that Dr. Ford couldn’t recall how she got home that night. Wondering like this will make it so challenging for survivors to appear forward, and I was aghast that Sen. Collins could maybe imagine that this line of thought was justifiable.
I simply cannot fault the senator for believing what she believes she is entitled to that. But I do locate fault that every time a person attempts to criticize her, she trumpets her repetition as a centrist. It’s a standing she no extended warrants.
Sen. Collins is up for reelection in 2020 but, no matter of what slogan her workforce might advertise, voters in Maine will bear in mind that, when her constituents required her most, she was not there for us. And she in all probability under no circumstances will be.
Pleasure Engel is a freelance writer and strategist whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Elle and The Decider. She lives in Portland, Maine.