Letter to Susan Collins

Senator Susan Collins
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Sunday, July 8, 2018

You have stated that you will not ask any nominee by Donald Trump their opinion on Roe v Wade, and that you will trust their commitment to upholding precedent in order to uphold it. You took this same stance with Neil Gorsuch. Just because he literally wrote a book on precedent does not mean that he will uphold them. I assume that you have paid attention to the batch of SCOTUS decisions that came out last week. How many of them did Neil Gorsuch vote with the majority to overturn decades of precedent? Last time I counted, the answer is “all of them”.

Mr. Gorsuch was pre-vetted and supplied to Mr. Trump by The Federalist Society, an ultra-conservative organization dedicated to raising ultra-conservative lawyers with the goal of getting them into court seats at the State and Federal levels in order to overturn decades of social progress. Such as Roe v Wade.

Every name on Mr. Trump’s list of 25 has been pre-vetted by this group. All of them would vote for overturning Roe v Wade.

And that is not the only “settled law” that Mr. Gorsuch, and whomever Mr. Trump nominates, would overturn. Considering their judicial origin, also on the potential chopping block are marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act, the American With Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act, and maybe even Brown v Board Of Education.

In other words, every single piece of Civil Rights legislation and judgement for the past 60+ years is in YOUR hands.

I therefor urge you to vote “no” on whomever Mr. Trump nominates. I would even urge you to withhold voting altogether.

In 2016, when Justice Scalia died, your leader, Mitch McConnell stated that he would refuse to entertain even any discussion of a replacement nomination “because it’s an election year” and The People should have a say in the next election. 2018 is an election year. If what he said two years ago is true, it’s also true today.  He then went on to break the precedent and change the rules. If this is supposed to be a non-partisan position, then changing the rules to allow a confirmation on a mere simple majority is a betrayal of that, and the prior rule of requiring a supermajority of 60 “yea” votes must be restored.

You allowed yourself to be lied to and betrayed last year with the vote on the tax bill that has decimated the Affordable Care Act. Learn from your mistake. I assume you have principles, though you split hairs so fine to justify your votes it’s hard to tell at times. Assuming you still have any, it is time and past time to make principled stand and stick to it. All of Maine is watching. All of America is watching. All of the word is watching.

Jeffrey Kaplan
Biddeford, ME

Patriotism in 2018

On this Fourth of July, in the year 2018, celebrating the 242nd Anniversary of the American Declaration Of Independence from an oppressive government that disregarded the wants and needs of its American citizens, it is well worth it to contemplate Patriotism.

Patriotism, as defined by Merriam-Webster: “love for or devotion to one’s country”

Note that it does not say love or devotion to the current government, or to any elected official. In fact, it can be, and often has been, argued that Patriotism demands holding the government to task for what they do and what they fail to do.

To those that claim that those who criticize Donald Trump and his administration are lacking in patriotism because he’s the president, I have one basic thing to say:

BULLSHIT!

If they really thought that, then by their own definitions, these people have shown a complete lack of patriotism when Barak Obama was President.

Because Patriotism is loyalty to the country, not to any specific person, if the person in high office is acting in a way that is detrimental to the country, it is therefore a patriotic duty to hold them responsible. It is therefore a patriotic duty to dissent. It is a patriotic duty to resist. Loyalty to the person is in fact incompatible with patriotism, because you are putting the person above the country regardless of what that person is doing to the country.

The Declaration of Independence, the signing of which is celebrated 242 years ago today, calls out for dissent and opposition to Trump’s administration where it says as the second paragraph

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

What has Trump done that warrants a Patriotic dissent and resistance? Here’s a partial list:

  • He insults our allies and defers to our enemies
  • He installs department heads that are unqualified on the face of it and who’s missions are to dismantle their departments
  • He is personally profiting from being President beyond a paycheck by not distancing himself from his businesses
  • He is personally profiting from being President beyond a paycheck by manipulating the stock market
  • He ignores the evidence-based consensus of his own Intelligence services regarding enemy cyberwarfare against the United States and takes the unproven word of a sworn enemy instead
  • He claims victory in talks with a hostile foreign leader when he gave what they wanted and got nothing in return, ignoring evidence of his failure
  • Demands certain concessions to agree to a basic principle, then moves the goal posts
  • Enacts a policy of “zero tolerance”, lies about who’s policy it is, claims it’s up to another branch of the government to fix it, then only under pressure from his wife and daughter enacts an Order that only partially rescinds it and attempts to make things worse
  • Falsely claims “national security” to impose import tariffs on our allies triggering global trade wars with allies and other trade partners
  • Directly and implicitly Incites violence against the Media
  • Directly and implicitly incites violence against people of color, other religions and refugees

I could go on and on, but as I said, this is only a partial list.